Subdiscipline of theoretical physics which consists in the study of physics problems using numerical algorithms. PLEASE NOTE that questions about computational methods and/or programming are OFF-TOPIC on Physics.SE.

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19
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5answers
2k views

What do theoretical physicists need from computer scientists?

I recently co-authored a paper (not online yet unfortunately) with some chemists that essentially provided answers to the question, "What do chemists need from computer scientists?" This included the ...
14
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5answers
720 views

Home-made lattice calculation?

The topic of Lattice QCD or Lattice gauge theory or even Lattice field theory is quite old now. And the main reason for the interest in the topic is the ability to calculate nonperturbative stuff on a ...
13
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3answers
495 views

What limitations are there in measuring physical properties accurately?

In a StackOverflow answer, I attempted to explain why a 32-bit float was perfectly adequate for representing the questioner's weight measurement: Physical properties are inaccurately measured ...
12
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1answer
3k views

Solving Schrödinger's equation with Crank-Nicolson method

I am trying to numerically solve Schrödinger's equation with Cayley's expansion ($\hbar=1$) $$\psi(x,t+\Delta t)=e^{-i H\Delta t}\psi(x,t)\approx\frac{1-\frac{1}{2}i H\Delta t}{1+\frac{1}{2}i H\Delta ...
10
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5answers
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How useful is programming in physics?

I have been wondering recently how useful programming is to a physicist. It seems fairly useful (simulations are a lot cheaper than the actual thing in many cases) in some areas (say space programs), ...
10
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2answers
356 views

How do you simulate chiral gauge theories on a computer?

David Tong and Lubos Motl have argued that our universe can't possibly be a digital computer simulation because chiral gauge theories can't be discretized, and the Standard Model is a chiral gauge ...
10
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1answer
129 views

Consideration of static atomic displacements in electronic structure calculations

I am hoping to discuss some details of electronic structure calculations. I am not an expert on this topic, so please forgive any abuse of terminology. It is my understanding that first principles ...
9
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3answers
2k views

How are physics and computer science getting united?

How is theoretical computer science getting united with physics? Phenomena like Quantum Computing uses Quantum Mechanics to be able to compute things, how are computers helping not just to model our ...
8
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2answers
539 views

How do I calculate the Reynolds number in multiphase flows?

I am modeling a gas flowing through a liquid. How do I calculate the Reynolds number in multiphase flows? And, at what Reynolds number should I consider the flow to be turbulent? The problem is of a ...
8
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1answer
653 views

What is the status of applying numerical analysis to QM/QFT problems

This is something I don't ever seem to hear about, except regarding QCD ("lattice QCD"). What about QED? Is numerical integration always inferior to hand-calculating Feynman diagrams in perturbation ...
8
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1answer
2k views

What programming languages would be helpful for a physicist to know? [closed]

From the vantage point of a physicist and the kind of problems he would like a computer program to solve, what are the essential programming languages that a physicist should know. I know C++ and I ...
8
votes
3answers
352 views

Can the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm be generalized to quantum systems?

The Metropolis-Hastings algorithm is an efficient way of simulating classical ensembles using the Monte Carlo method. Is there a generalization of this algorithm to quantum systems? What I DON'T have ...
8
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0answers
388 views

Intuition for when the replica trick should work and why it works

I am a graduate student in mathematics working in probability (without a very good background in physics honestly) and I've started to see arguments based on computations derived from the replica ...
7
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4answers
639 views

Church-Turing hypothesis as a fundamental law of physics

The Church-Turing hypothesis says one can not build a computing device which has more computing power (in terms of computability) than the abstract model of Turing machine. So, there is something in ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Physics of simple collisions

I'm building a physics simulator for a graphics course, and so far I have it implementing gravitational and Coulomb forces. I want to add collisions next, but I'm not exactly sure how to go about ...
7
votes
1answer
251 views

Numerical schemes, time integration algorithms and energy conservation

What does it mean when someone says a numerical scheme or a time integration algorithm is "energy conserving". How can a numerical scheme "gain" or "lose" or "conserve" energy apart from the numerical ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Solving one dimensional Schrodinger equation with finite difference method

Consider the one-dimensional Schrodinger equation $$-\frac{1}{2}D^2 \psi(x)+V(x)\psi(x)=E\psi(x)$$ where $D^2=\dfrac{d^2}{dx^2},V(x)=-\dfrac{1}{|x|}$. I want to calculate the ground state ...
7
votes
4answers
869 views

Dirac equation on general geometries?

I have a numerical method for computing solutions to the Dirac equation for a spin 1/2 particle constrained to an arbitrary surface and am interested in finding applications where the configuration ...
7
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1answer
124 views

Minimal Extension of Wave Equation to Include Dispersion

Let's say you are modeling some process with the wave equation $\frac{1}{c^{2}}\frac{\partial^{2}\psi}{\partial t^{2}} = \nabla^{2}\psi$. You wish to improve your model by including dispersive ...
7
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1answer
1k views

What are the limitations of Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics?

I've been excited by some of the possibilities of Smoothed-Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH). I have seen some very exciting demonstrations of their use in 3D graphics, but I am wondering how well the ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Riemann invariants…Any physical interpretation?

I am really new to the CFD simulation, and started some simple algorithms recently. I then got introduced to the Riemann Invariants. Can any one provide some physical interpretation? Also, why is ...
7
votes
2answers
492 views

Diifference between real time propagation and imaginary time propagation?

Suppose I want to solve Nonlinear Schrodinger equation using imaginary time propagation to get the ground state solution. I choose $t = - i t$, and then solve the equation using split step Crank ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Should acceleration be included in state vector of a Kalman filter?

I'm developing (actually adopting existing solution) a Kalman filter to model motion of a vehicle (UAV or automobile). The state vector will include position, velocity, and, possibly, acceleration. ...
7
votes
2answers
223 views

Monte-Carlo and $O(n)$ models for non-integer n

$O(n)$ lattice statistical models can be generalized to non integer values of n, starting from their (expanded and resumed in graphs) partition function: $$Z = \sum_{\text{loop configurations}} n^{\# ...
7
votes
3answers
207 views

Runge Kutta Method for a Lindblad Equation

I am solving a Lindblad equation for a dissipative Harmonic Oscillator. My Hamiltonian is time dependent, My Lindblad Equation can be written as \begin{equation} ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is the canonical ($NVT$) ensemble often used for (classical) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations?

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is a common approach to the (classical) many-body problem. It relies on integration of Newton's equations of motion to simulate the trajectories of many (e.g., ...
6
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1answer
80 views

How close to the critical point is sufficient close for measuring critical exponents?

I am learning Monte Carlo and just manage to simulate a phase transition by computing the heat capacity or the susceptibility. I wish I can also compute critical exponents.To this purpose, I have read ...
6
votes
2answers
203 views

Eigenvalue problem for differential equations in QM

I have a very simple question with regard to numerical methods in physics. I want to solve the eigenvalue problem for a particle moving in an arbitrary potential. Let's take 1D to be concrete. I.e. I ...
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Feynman's Infinite Amount of Logic for One Tiny Bit of Space

Watching one of Feynman's lectures, I came across something that puzzled me. What was Feynman referring to when he said the following? What goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space and no ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Discretizing the Wave Equation in polar coordinates

I want to discretize the wave equation $$\frac{1}{c^2}\frac{\partial^2\psi\left(\vec{r},t\right)}{\partial t^2}=\triangle\psi\left(\vec{r},t\right)$$ in polar coordinates. I find the following ...
5
votes
2answers
220 views

Ising model observables

Is there a formula or equation relating $\langle E\rangle$ and $\langle M\rangle$ (average spin per site) and $\langle E^2\rangle$ to temperature $T$ for the square lattice Ising model at zero ...
5
votes
1answer
306 views

Numerical analytic continuation for Green's function

Recently, I happened to hear about the possibility of doing analytic continuation numerically. That sounds attractive for the ubiquitous $\mathrm{i}\omega_n\rightarrow\omega+\mathrm{i}0^+$ procedure, ...
5
votes
3answers
358 views

Supergravity calculation using computer algebra system in early days

I was having a look at the original paper on supergravity by Ferrara, Freedman and van Nieuwenhuizen available here. The abstract has an interesting line saying that Added note: This term has now ...
5
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2answers
339 views

In condensed matter simulations, how is particle number density computed in practice?

I have been reading a recent paper. In it, the authors performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of parallel-plate supercapacitors, in which liquid resides between the parallel-plate electrodes. ...
5
votes
1answer
242 views

What equation describes the electrostatic potential in these circumstances?

I have a solver for Poisson's equation and it works nicely. It uses finite differences. It works in the presence of multiple dielectrics. It also solves the Poisson Boltzmann equation. That is, fixed ...
5
votes
3answers
245 views

Simulate a physical impact of objects made of finite, small elements

I want to simulate an impact between two bodies according to gravity, and eventually considering other forces to stick matter together. I'd like to use python to do this, but I am open to ...
5
votes
1answer
71 views

Least action principle — numerical simulation strangeness

I'm trying to get some experience with the least action principle, and for this I chose a simple 1-dimensional problem of a particle moving in some field. The least action principle would then look ...
5
votes
3answers
396 views

How to include random force in the simulation (Classical Molecular Dynamics)

I need to implement a random force in my code according to the fluctuation dissipation theorem. I have a Gaussian distribution function ready width average 0 and distribution 1 and I know I need to ...
5
votes
0answers
556 views

Interpretation of Stiffness Matrix and Mass Matrix in Finite Element Method

I would like to have a general interpretation of the coefficients of the stiffness matrix that appears in FEM. For instance if we are solving a linear elasticity problem and we modelize the relation ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Ray tracing in General Relativity

I would like to find out what one would see at the Schwarzschild radius of a massive non-rotating black hole, if the black hole is surrounded by a bright ring. For that, I would place the observer at ...
4
votes
3answers
353 views

Future Computer Performance

Moore's law has succesfully predicted up to now that integrated circuit transister density doubles every two years. However, computer performance is dependent on additional factors like architecture, ...
4
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3answers
687 views

Nanorobots. What stops us from producing them yet?

If we can already predicts accuratelly motion on molecular levels, what stops us from developing small robots to, for instance, navigate through our blood vessels looking for cancerous cells and ...
4
votes
2answers
260 views

Difference between Monte Carlo and Quantum Monte Carlo methods?

What are the differences between Classical Monte Carlo methods and Quantum Monte Carlo methods in condensed matter physics? If one want to study strongly correlated systems with Quantum Monte Carlo ...
4
votes
1answer
575 views

Industry application of computational quantum mechanics?

I was wondering if anybody knew of an industry application of computational quantum mechanics. For example, the efficient placement of circuit elements on a PCB is in part motivated by classical FDTD ...
4
votes
2answers
990 views

Radial Schrodinger equation with inverse power law potential

Recently I read a paper about solving radial Schrodinger equation with inverse power law potential. Consider the radial Schrodinger equation(simply set $\mu=\hbar=1$): ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Using the monte carlo method to compute the magnetic field of a curent carrying loop

I have written a program in cpp that computes the magnetic field at a point from a current carrying loop. It uses the biot savart law and the monte carlo technique to carry out the integral. The ...
4
votes
2answers
628 views

Implementing simple atom model using density functional theory (DFT)

I am trying to write computer code which will find the energy and density function for an atom with $Z$ protons and $N$ electrons. I am working in 1D for simplicity and would like to make the overall ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

On numerically solving the Schrödinger equation

I just read a paper 'A pocket calculator determination of energy eigenvalues' by J Killingbeck (1979). Link: http://iopscience.iop.org/0305-4470/10/6/001 I have some questions about section 2. Why ...
4
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1answer
119 views

Good source for numerical simulations of Wigner function?

I'm interested in simulating the time evolution of a Wigner function for a harmonic oscillator (and possibly some other potentials) and I can't seem to find a good resource for that. My background in ...
4
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1answer
374 views

Numeric method to calculate the charge distribution on a conducting surface?

If I have an arbitrary (closed?) conducting surface and a nearby charge density, is there a simple numeric way of computing the induced charge distribution on the surface?