One can turn to analytical approximation methods but these have often limits regarding their applicability or accuracy. When the underlying physical system is very complex, many times analytical methods are either too time consuming or simply unattainable. Moreover, one might be dealing with stochastic processes where conclusions about the system can only be drawn from simulating it many times over.
Why computational physics?
This is where computers can make a big difference in allowing for the computation of system dynamics or characteristics. In experimental physics, computers can help in interpreting complex data sets, guide experiments and experimental set ups, and even facilitate virtual experiments by use of modelling and simulation. The latter can replace expensive experiments, for example, or provide insights into the dynamics in certain locations within a physical system which are not accessible by measurement techniques.
We develop better algorithms for such atomistic calculations and apply them to challenging problems. The research has interdisciplinary character, involving physics, mathematics, chemistry and computer science. The picture on the upper right shows the lowest energy point defect in silicon.
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MSc Computational Physics
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