Special Statistical Physics Seminar: Monte Carlo Methods for Rough Free Energy Landscapes

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 1:15pm - 2:15pm
Reiss 261A
Jon Machta
UMass Amherst

Problems in many areas of science require finding ground states or equilibrium states in systems with rough free energy landscapes. In this talk I will describe some of the situations where rough landscapes are encountered and the computational difficulties they create. Two computational strategies that partially overcome these difficulties–parallel tempering and population annealing–will be introduced. The strengths and weakness of these methods will be discussed in the context of some simplified landscapes and a more complex system in statistical physics, the Ising spin glass.

Host: Daniel Blair