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DFT and Beyond, Berlin 2011


For 10 days, students and researchers from around the world convened at the Fritz-Haber Institute (FHI) in Berlin for the 2011 DFT and Beyond workshop. At this hands-on intensive workshop, organized by the theory department at FHI, participants received lectures and computer exercises on a broad range of topics and techniques in cutting edge condensed matter physics and quantum chemistry. As an engineer, I am interested in the tools that modern theorists have developed to improve our understanding of materials. The workshop did not let me down.

Not only were DFT fundamentals covered, but also techniques for extending the time and length scales. DFT by itself can only calculate ground state electronic structure in relatively small systems. Even with these restrictions, the possibility for DFT to predict properties of materials, such as IR spectra is impressive. Additional tools such as cluster-expansion, kinetic monte-carlo, GW perturbation, and time-domain dft take DFT calculations as a starting point and build upon them to predict temperature and time dependent phenomena. While geared towards theorists, I found more than enough material accessible for an experimentalist such as myself. And it is always great to know what the limitations are of modern theory.

Berlin is an amazing city. It is very accessible and very pleasant in July. I highly recommend attending this workshop in the future. Many thanks to Prof. Scheffler, Dr. Volker Blum and Dr. Heiko Appel for organizing it.