From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about computational science
applied in physics. For theories comparing the universe to a
computer, see
digital physics.
Computational physics is the study and
implementation of numerical algorithms to solve problems in physics for which a
quantitative theory already exists. It is often regarded as a
subdiscipline of theoretical physics but some
consider it an intermediate branch between theoretical and experimental physics.
Physicists often have
a very precise mathematical theory describing how a system will
behave. Unfortunately, it is often the case that solving the
theory's equations ab
initio in order to produce a useful prediction is not
practical. This is especially true with quantum
mechanics, where only a handful of simple models have complete
analytic solutions. In cases where the systems only have numerical
solutions, computational methods are used.
Applications of
computational physics
Computation now represents an essential component of modern
research in accelerator physics, astrophysics, fluid
mechanics, lattice field theory/lattice
gauge theory (especially lattice quantum chromodynamics), plasma physics (see plasma
modeling) and solid state
physics. Computational solid state physics, for example, uses
density functional theory to
calculate properties of solids, a method similar to that used by
chemists to study molecules.
Many other more general numerical problems fall loosely under
the domain of computational physics, although they could easily be
considered pure mathematics or part of any number of
applied areas. These include
All these methods (and several others) are used to calculate
physical properties of the modeled systems. Computational Physics
also encompasses the tuning of the software/hardware structure to
solve the problems (as the problems usually can be very large, in
processing power need or in memory requests).
See also
External
links