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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the level of the short course? What is the target audience? Are there prerequisites?

Modeling Material Short Courses are at the graduate-level. Basically anyone with an undergraduate education in engineering, science or mathematics is qualified to attend. We attempt to present the material in a manner accessible to all participants regardless of their background.

The target audience is researchers in academia and industry involved in or interested in predictive materials modeling. By "predictive modeling", we mean models that can predict material response based on fundamental atomic-scale information as opposed to traditional phenomenological (empirical) engineering practices. 

We often find that our participants are either engineers who primarily use traditional continuum methods (like finite elements) and are interested in seeing how atomic-scale information can be incorporated into such models (for example to study failure mechanisms or phase transformations) or researchers who are experts in atomistic computations and want to learn how these methods can be incorporated within large-scale models of macroscopic systems. In addition we have graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty members whose research focuses on continuum, atomistic or multiscale techniques and who wish to learn more about one of these areas in order to extend the applicability of their work.

  • What can a participant expect to learn in 4 or 5 day course?

We teach both 4-day and 5-day courses. The material covered is about the same, but the 5-day course gives more time for hands-on exercises and for students to absorb the large amount of material to which they are exposed.

Four or five days may seem like a short amount of time, but if you think about it, five 9-hour days (less lunch and breaks) is about 35-40 hour of lectures and exercises. A typical 14-week semester of an academic course that meets 3-hours per week is 42 hours. So a Modeling Materials Short Course is roughly comparable to a full semester's worth of work.

We cover a range of topics in a typical short course, including material structure (crystals and defects), continuum mechanics and thermodynamics, the finite element method (FEM), quantum mechanics and density functional theory (DFT), classical atomistics (interatomic potentials and molecular statics), statistical mechanics and molecular dynamics (MD), computing stress and heat flux in MD, theory of multiscale methods, the quasicontinuum (QC) method (theory and applications), and advanced
QC methods (finite temperature, temporal acceleration). These topics can be adjusted based on the needs of a hosting institution.

  • What general benefits and skills can a participant in a short course expect to gain?

Some general benefits and skills that students can expect to get out of a Modeling Materials Short Course include:
  1. Disparate topics in the course are presented in a unified fashion, by the same lecturers, using a common notation. A strong emphasis is placed on the connections between the very different topics. Often courses like this are taught by a group of different lecturers who each bring a different perspective and notation, which makes it difficult for a student to integrate.
  2. While it is not possible in one week to become an expert in each of the areas listed above, the Short Course does deepen a researcher's understanding of their own field, and provides them with the basic concepts and terminology of other fields. This will make it easier for people from different fields to communicate and serves as a starting point for someone wishing to enter a new field.
  3. The course is well-integrated with the lecturers' books ("Modeling Materials" and "Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics") which the participants receive as part of the tuition. Participants will also receive lecture notes (copies of the presentation slides) that direct them to sections in the book for further reading for all topics covered. Listening to the lectures and becoming familiar with the notation will make it much easier for participants to continue learning on their own. As such, the course may be viewed as a "gentle" introduction to the books.
  4. On a practical level, the hands-on portions of the Short Course provide participants with useful skills. They learn how to solve some basic problems in the different subject areas covered and gain familiarity with computational techniques (some of which will likely fall outside their area of expertise), such as nonlinear FEM, MD (LAMMPS) and multiscale QC.

  • How much does it cost? What is included?

Every course is priced differently depending on the length of the course, hosting institution, and venue. See a particular course for details. The tuition includes copies of the books "Modeling Materials" and "Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics", lecture notes (copies of the presentation slides), and open source software used during the course.

  • Do participants get a certificate for completing the course?

Yes. Participants will receive a "Certificate of Completion" for the short course.