A group of 48 researchers from the U.S., Canada and Europe gathered at the Simons Foundation on February 13 and 14 for the 2015 annual meeting of the Simons Collaboration on the Many Electron Problem. Talks by collaboration scientists and by distinguished external speakers were presented, along with poster sessions at which all of the collaboration-supported students and postdocs presented their work.
The collaboration’s goal is to develop new ways to solve the quantum mechanical behavior of systems comprising many interacting electrons, with the eventual goal of revolutionizing our ability to calculate and understand the properties of molecules and solids that are important in chemistry, physics and everyday life. The annual meeting is a venue for the collaboration members to meet, compare results, exchange ideas and hear about new ideas developed both by collaboration members and non-collaboration scientists.
Presentation topics ranged from the new tensor network renormalization methods of collaboration scientist Guifre Vidal to the full configuration interaction quantum Monte Carlo methods developed by Ali Alavi of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. Lively discussions during meals and poster sessions laid the groundwork for future projects.
“The many electron problem collaboration is thriving,” says Gustavo E. Scuseria, who serves on the scientific advisory board of the collaboration. “I came out of the first annual meeting with a very positive impression of the initial progress.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting,” says Antoine Georges, director of the Cluster Embeddings Group. “It was great to see all the younger, postdoctoral scientists presenting their work, getting to know each other and discussing science. This is bringing a lot of momentum and also indicates that the collaboration is now well underway after the initial stages of preparation and defining projects.”
Georges also found the collaborative nature of the meeting itself of particular use to its attendees. “I find it remarkable that, by bringing good scientists together in a great setting and in a manner which is different from the usual circles of academia, one can get them to work in a much more collective manner towards a common goal.”