Summer school report: Quantum Monte Carlo and the CASINO program IX

The ninth international summer school in the “Quantum Monte Carlo and the CASINO program” series took place from Sunday 3rd August to Sunday 10th August 2014 and involved 32 people (including 22 students) from 14 countries.

The purpose of the school was to provide the students with a thorough working knowledge of the quantum Monte Carlo electronic structure method as currently used in quantum chemistry and condensed matter physics and to show them how to use the Cambridge CASINO QMC program for serious scientific research. The participants spent around 4-5 hours each morning listening to lectures from Mike Towler and Neil Drummond on the quantum Monte Carlo method. This was followed by practical examples classes with the CASINO software, and a programme of healthy recreational activities such as mountain walking and cave exploration.

Away from their scientific activities, the participants mounted successful expeditions to Monte Procinto, Pania della Croce, the rock arch of Monte Forato, the cave of Cascaltendine, Monte Palodina, the Orrido di Botri canyon, and the flat top of Monte Penna, the beautiful city of Lucca, and the open-air swimming pool at Barga. These trips were followed by nice dinners at Alto Matanna, Da Sandra, Eremo di Calomini, Al Laghetto and the old restaurant at Vallico Sotto, specially opened yet again for the “Vallico Sotto against the World” football match. Tragically, our team suffered yet another heavy defeat to the thrusting young lads of Vallico Sotto, but this time they did it with style, with some of the goals by Libya’s very own Sabri Elatresh being some of the greatest in the history of the Rest of the World side.

To check which students have been paying most attention during the lectures and practical classes, we traditionally hold a tough examination on the final day. The highest mark and the award of the prestigious title of “TTI QMC Summer School Champion 2014”, went to Peter Townsend of Cambridge University — with an honourable mention for Katharina Doblhoff-Dier, who nearly beat him — and for this he was awarded the prize of a bottle of Vietnamese snake wine, containing a cobra eating a smaller snake, of the type apparently used by Vietnamese gentlemen to increase their virility [NB: TTI does not condone the murder of animals for this purpose, but we happened to have a bottle of it, and all the TTI staff are quite virile enough, thank you very much]. Townsend’s triumph was celebrated with fireworks and, continuing a long tradition of oratorical brilliance from former champions stretching back many years, we heard a quality speech from the victor which could have been given by Winston Churchill. After thirty-four whiskies, fourteen glasses of porter, too many super strength cigars, and a Nazi bombing raid.

Original announcement
Summer school programme

Samuel Chang
Caterina de Franco
Jan Jenke
Mike Towler

Mike Towler and Neil Drummond assisted by Sam Azadi

Ali Bagci, Braulio Brito, Eike Caldeweyher, Kuang-Yu Samuel Chang, Shibing Chu, Caterina De Franco, Katharina Doblhoff-Dier, Sabri Elatresh, Fatih Ersan, Jan Florian, Wei Guo, Jiří Hostaš, Jan Jenke, Yelda Kadioglu, Saudi Woman, Thomas Mellan, Christoph Reimann, Giovanni Rillo, Peter Townsend, Fan Wang, Thomas Whitehead, Dmitry Zvezhinsky

Lectures presented : slides (password required)

Mike Towler (mdt26 at
1. “Quantum Monte Carlo : a practical solution to the correlation problem in electronic structure calculations” [PDF]
2. “The CASINO program : a basic introduction to functionality and input/output” [PDF]
3. “The CASINO program: distribution, setup, and compilation” [PDF]
4. “Probability and statistics in quantum Monte Carlo: the fascinating details” [PDF]
5. “Useful calculations for big, complicated systems: quantum Monte Carlo at the research frontier” [PDF]
6. “Three QMC scaling problems: many atoms, many protons, many processors” [PDF]
7. “Interfaces between CASINO and external programs” [PDF]
8. “Pseudopotentials for quantum Monte Carlo: a necessary evil” [PDF]
9. “Forces and dynamics. Expectation values other than the energy” [PDF]

Neil Drummond (n.drummond at
10. “Optimization of many-electron wave functions” [PDF]
11. “Theory and practice of Diffusion quantum Monte Carlo” [PDF]
12. “Wave functions beyond Slater-Jastrow” [PDF]
13. “Quantum Monte Carlo studies of condensed matter: Ewald interactions and finite size effects” [PDF]
14. “Quantum Monte Carlo study of the two-dimensional homogeneous electron gas” [PDF]

Practical worksheets and input files
– “QMC practical classes” [gzipped tar file]

QMC Exam
– “Exam” [PDF]
– “Answers” [PDF]

  • “Thank you so much for the two amazing weeks in Vallico. I will never forget
    those moments.”
  • “The week of the summer school went so fast. I think I got both knowledge and fun from this school. Thank you very much for your work!”
  • No words can express how much I am grateful for what you did. Thanks a lot for this extraordinary school.. I hope this school go on for as many years as possible.
  • “Thank you once more for wonderful summer school!”
  • “Thank you for all you did in Vallico Sotto..”
  • “Thank you very much for organizing such an interesting summer school. I do benefit a lot from this summer school.”
  • “Thank you for organising this wonderful week in Vallico Sotto and preparing all the lectures. The last lecture, especially ‘DMC vs. stochastic pilot-wave theories’ and ‘De Broglie-Bohm theory’ was really interesting and I hope to have time to learn more about this topic.”
  • “Thanks, I had a brilliant time, and learnt a little bit of QMC too. Unfortunately not enough time for me to use QMC during this PhD for my VO2 work, but if I start a post doc within the next few months, it would be seriously useful for strongly correlated materials I’m interested in and attempt to study using DFT presently. Wagner’s paper was one of the reasons I was so keen to attend, so I’m glad you were impressed too.”
  • “Many thanks to you (with Neil and Sam) for your work. I noted how it was hard for you to finish the school by yourself. I personally need some time to digest all information and hope that we can still discuss remaining questions by means of forum or email. (I promise that I will not annoy too much with them.)”
  • I thank to you very much for everything Mike. It is my first international summer school so i hesitated to speak with you because of my bad english in speaking ( im going to develop it). This summer school is very important and special for me. I was able to learn how i can use casino and also convert dft inputs to casino in there. i will use casino in my electronic and geometric structure calculations. I had to leave very early (6.00 am) from Vallico Sotto because of the plane. So I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye (also thank) to you. Nice to meet you and others very much.
  • “I have been back to China yesterday. Very much Thanks for your time and effort for the TTI conference and summer school. You are a good guy.^_^ When I get a faculty position of China’s university in the near future, I would love to make an invitation for you to have a visit of China If you will and have some time. It’s really an amazing journey to the Vallico Sotto. I enjoy the climbing, the hiking, the Italian foods and discussing with lot of clever guys. I love the photo about you with black beard (but I don’t think the black beard is the reason ^_^) and your daughter in your homepage.”

Peter Townsend – Summer School Champion 2014

Sabri Elatresh – best footballer ever..

Sergeant Azadi

The Changs (best photographer..)

Monte Matanna – summit

Monte Procinto and Pania della Croce

Monte Nona

Monte Nona II

Monte Nona III

Monte Nona IV

Monte Nona V

Local wildlife

Sergeant Azadi makes a low hummming, whistling noise

The hunt for the secret tunnel

The hunt for the secret tunnel II

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