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Advanced Computational Laboratory - PHY00029H

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  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Yvette Hancock
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18 to Summer Term 2017-18

Module aims

Frontiers of Physics Research

Frontiers of physics research will enable you to explore through a series of lectures areas of current research in the Department. Each lecture will introduce a specific topic which will serve as the stimulus for further study. Following the lectures, which will also include sessions on scientific writing and how to read journal articles, you will research one topic as a concise review article and two in the form of abstracts. In addition, you will attend the Departmental Postgraduate Poster evening and write up one of the displayed posters.

The Advanced Computational Laboratory

In term 2 the Advanced Computational Laboratory gives students experience at solving advanced, research-style, computational problems based on current, hot-topic research areas and to extend their skills in computational modelling. Students work on two computational assignments; the 2D Ising model and the tight-binding model applied to nanographene. After completing the assessed component, the students have the option, if time permits, to address more complex questions pertaining to these systems by working under the supervision of the demonstrators and laboratory co-ordinator in an open-ended, research style.

In term 3, the students will work in groups (of at least 3 students) to solve a larger computational challenge. They will be given an existing materials simulation program and will be required to use it to solve a materials design problem. They will need to determine how to use the capabilities of the software to address the physical problem, including possible extensions to the functionality of the simulation software, and design, perform and analyse appropriate computational experiments. Each student within the group will have their own task to accomplish, and the final stage of the project is writing a mini-report in the style of a short scientific paper.

Module learning outcomes

Frontiers of Physics Research

Become familiar with an area of Departmental research to a level consistent with 3rd year MPhys knowledge by means of literature, database and web searches

Be confident in reading scientific journal articles

Be able to write succinct and accurate scientific English for both one-page and more extended formats

Learn skills

Be able to learn from, analyse and constructively criticise a PhD-level poster presentation

Advanced Computational Laboratory (T2)

The assessed component of the laboratory provides general skills in

the design and successful coding of computer simulations based on advanced theoretical models and complex physical systems

analytical skills pertaining to the physical interpretation and validation of numerical results, i.e., accuracy, correctness and limitations of the simulation model

use of external libraries

skills in keeping a 'working' laboratory logbook, which is updated concurrently as the laboratory progresses

skills in extended, scientific report writing and literature research/comparison

Specific skills and learning outcomes obtained from the laboratory relate to the

application of the unit-cell approximation in numerical simulations

study of finite size effects and phase transitions

numerical simulation of a 2D Ising ferromagnet

application of importance sampling and the Metropolis algorithm for studying stochastic processes

calculation of thermodynamic averages such as the magnetisation as a function of temperature for the 2D Ising system

introduction to the tight-binding formalism of solid-state physics written in second quantisation representation

application of the tight-binding model to simple systems, such as atomic chains, and comparison of the analytical and numerical eigensolutions and band structures.

application of the tight-binding model to graphene nanoribbons; armchair and zigzag ribbons

calculation of the band-gap as a function of width for graphene nanoribbons

use of the LAPACK library eigensolver

Advanced Computational Laboratory (T3)

The assessed component of the laboratory provides general skills in

designing experiments to investigate particular physics phenomena

designing workflow and optimising the use of available resources

analytical skills pertaining to the physical interpretation and validation of numerical

results, i.e., accuracy, correctness and limitations of the simulation model

skills in keeping a 'working' laboratory logbook, which is updated concurrently as the laboratory progresses

skills in extended, scientific report writing and literature research/comparison

the analysis, design and interfacing of new and old code

the development of group-work skills pertaining to modern software development practices, including unit testing, integration testing and the use of version control software.

Module content

Frontiers of Physics Research:-

The topics are likely to vary from year to year; recent lectures have included:

Plasma Physics of ITER

Coherent extreme UV radiation

Shape transitions in atomic nuclei

Gamma-ray bursters

Beauty is only nanometres deep

Stroboscopic investigation of spin motion

Ab-initio quantum mechanics for many-electron systems

Computer simulation of magnetic nano-structures

Advanced Computational Laboratory (T2)

Students will work on two computational experiments from: ‘

The Ising Ferromagnet’, ‘Tight-binding Simulation of Graphene Nanoribbons’ and ‘Single Particle Plasma Simulation’.The laboratory log-book is assessed after completion of each computational experiment

Students choose one of the computational experiments for write-up

Advanced Computational Laboratory (T3)

Students work in groups to do an extended project. The assessments involve:

(i) the laboratory (e-log) book

(ii) a short 1-2 page scientific paper (extended abstract)

(iii) the developed software (code) and associated software documentation.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Frontiers of Research Assignment
N/A 25
Essay/coursework
Lab books & dissertation
N/A 50
Essay/coursework
Lab group work
N/A 25

Special assessment rules

Non-compensatable

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Frontiers of Research Assignment
N/A 25
Essay/coursework
Lab books & dissertation
N/A 50
Essay/coursework
Lab group work
N/A 25

Module feedback

Module feedback will be provided verbally and on the written assessment forms for the various assessment components. In addition, for the laboratory components, the laboratory demonstrators, academic facilitator and the laboratory co-ordinator will provide on-going feedback each week during the hands-on laboratory sessions. The laboratory co-ordinator will be available to provide additional feedback at each assessment point.

Indicative reading

Reading list will be provided with the laboratory scripts at the start of each term.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.