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The Times They Are A-Changin'

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Gareth Conduit.

The last 30 years have seen the steady and exhilarating development of powerful quantum-simulation engines for extended systems, dedicated to the solution of the Kohn-Sham equations of density-functional theory, often augmented by density-functional perturbation theory, many-body perturbation theory, time-dependent density-functional theory, dynamical mean-field theory, and quantum Monte Carlo.

Since these simulations are performed without any experimental input or parameter they can streamline, accelerate, or replace actual physical experiments. This is a far-reaching paradigm shift, substituting the cost- and time-scaling of brick-and-mortar facilities, equipment, and personnel with those, very different, of computing engines.

Nevertheless, computational science remains anchored to a renaissance model of individual artisans gathered in a workshop, under the guidance of an established practitioner. Great benefits could follow from rethinking such model, while adopting concepts and tools from computer science for the automation, management, preservation, analytics, and dissemination of these computational efforts.

I will offer my perspective on the current state-of-the-art in the field, its power and limitations, the role and opportunities of high-throughput computing, and some examples that hint at the novel approaches that, for better or for worse, are emerging.

This talk is part of the Theory of Condensed Matter series.

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