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About this event

Web site…
310 Aug 2014
Vallico Sotto, Tuscany, Italy
Mike Towler
Contact address
Dr. Mike Towler
TCM Group, Cavendish Laboratory,
19 JJ Thomson Avenue,
United Kingdom


Quantum Monte Carlo and the CASINO program IX

The ninth international summer school in the series "Quantum Monte Carlo and the CASINO program" will take place during August 2014 at the TTI monastery in the Tuscan Apuan Alps in Italy, organized and hosted by members and associates of Cambridge University physics department's Theory of Condensed Matter Group. The aim of the school is to give students a thorough introduction to quantum Monte Carlo as a method for performing very high accuracy calculations of the electronic structure of atoms, molecules, and materials. The course is designed for quantum chemists or theoretical physicists who have no previous experience with this technique; people at any stage of their career who are interested are welcome to take part.

The monastery - incorporating the Apuan Alps Centre for Physics - is a unique venue where the magnificent location and community spirit have inspired a long series of memorable schools and workshops since it first opened its doors almost ten years ago. It is a delightful 15th century building incorporating an ancient church, and is situated in the isolated but spectacular setting of the Tuscan mountain village of Vallico Sotto. The church is fully equipped with the relevant presentation and computer
technology, and all accommodation is on-site or in other houses in the village. As with all events at the Institute, formal lectures are restricted to the mornings, and participants are encouraged to spend much
of the rest of the day thinking, contemplating, and discussing the issues at hand. Practical computer exercises after lunch will be followed by a programme of recreational activities such as mountain walks, cave trips, and city visits organized for the latter half of most afternoons; the days generally conclude with pleasant evening meals in local family restaurants.

Describing the complex behaviour of materials at the atomic level requires a sophisticated description of the correlated motion of the electrons. Quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) is an increasingly popular and explicitly many-body method with the unique capability of yielding highly accurate results whilst also exhibiting a very favourable scaling of computational cost with system size, and essentially perfect parallel scaling up to (at least) hundreds of thousands of computer cores. Over the last twenty years, the Cambridge group have been researching QMC methods and we have created a powerful, general computer program - CASINO - to carry out the calculations. The school will focus both on the basic theory of QMC and on more advanced practical techniques, and will include a thorough
introduction to the CASINO program. A background in density functional theory or similar - though not essential - is normally thought to be useful, as is an ability to operate computers through a Linux command line environment.

Quantum Monte Carlo and the scaling behaviour of CASINO on the fastest computers in the world were the subject of a recent Psi-k "Scientific Highlight of the Month" review articles. See "Petascale computing opens new vistas for quantum Monte Carlo" by M.J.Gillan, M.D. Towler and D.Alfe,
available for download here:

The UK QMC community now has its own participatory website and discussion forum where one can find further information about the method, together with a comprehensive archive of talks and papers:

Instructors at the school will include the main authors of the CASINO program: Dr. Pablo Lopez Rios (Cambridge), Dr. Neil Drummond (Lancaster) and Dr. Mike Towler (Cambridge/UCL) and very probably others.

Participants who need to fly to Italy would normally book a flight to Pisa airport (or conceivably Florence) from where onward transportation will be arranged. Other airports such as Milano/Roma are possible if you don't mind a longer train trip. Details of previous schools - including photographs and commentary from the participants - are available on the CASINO-QMC web site:

Interested students should email Mike Towler (qmcatcp14 at for registration and further information.