All posts by Damian Jones

Member of the STFC Scientific Computing Department. Based at STFC Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington, UK.

2019-20 CECAM-Psi-k Research Conference

2019-20 CECAM-Psi-k
Research Conference

CECAM and Psi-k launch every year a call to organize a high-profile common research conference on an outstanding subject in the broad area of computational materials science; topics can range from applications in solid-state materials, soft matter, or biomolecules, to theoretical, methodological, and algorithmic advances.

We particularly encourage proposals that promote interdisciplinary exchange and focus on exceptional scientific challenges that go beyond current boundaries and foster the discussion of new developments.

The conference should typically last between 3.5 and 5 days, and target a max of 100 participants, with a structure and format dedicated to foster plentiful discussions and informal interactions among the participants, proactively engaged by conference organizers and discussion leaders.

Proposals must be submitted online at All conference proposals will be peer reviewed, discussed, and ranked by a scientific panel composed by 3 members proposed by CECAM, and by 3 trustees of Psi-k.

In the proposal, emphasis should be placed on outlining the challenging scientific issues, which will be the focus of the event, and in establishing the proposed list of speakers and participants. Active participation of scientists at different stages of their career, and especially early states, is very encouraged, as is diversity in the speakers and leaders. The proposal should include information on the venue, which can take place anywhere in Europe, and a tentative budget. CECAM and Psi-k are committed to support the event with up to 30000 euro. Conference fees may be charged only to cover costs.

The call will be open until September 30th 2018 and the final outcome will be communicated during the autumn. The conference must take place between April 2019 and March 2020.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ignacio Pagonabarraga
CECAM Director
[email protected]
Nicola Marzari
Psi-k Chairman
[email protected]

2019-20 Psi-k Event Application

Herewith we solicit for proposals for activities in the field of electronic-structure theory and calculations to be held between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, to be funded (in full/partially) by the Psi-k Network and Charity.

Psi-k has introduced a two-step application process, to improve planning and avoid duplication of efforts.

First, a pre-proposal should be submitted by Friday 31 August 2018 (midnight CEST), describing the planned event. The working groups ( will either approve this pre-proposal for full submission, reject it, or suggest a merger between different activities – you are very welcome to contact the working group leaders or members beforehand.

Feedback will be provided by Friday 14 September 2018. Pre-proposals that have been approved, or mergers that have been successfully negotiated, will then have to submit a full proposal by Friday 12 October 2018. These proposals will be evaluated and approved with full or partial funding, or declined, at the Psi-k meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee ( and working group leaders, on Friday 23 November 2018.

Psi-k typically funds schools (1-2 weeks), workshops (2-3 days), international conferences (2-5 days), and code/method tutorials (3 days-1 week), with a focus on electronic- structure methods, developments, and applications. Its mission statement is available at Typical funding is of the order of 4,000/8,000/12,000 €, depending on size and duration (as a guideline, 30 €/expected participant/day); Psi-k funds around 25-35 activities for every call (see here for the 2018-19 activities).

The evaluation of the pre-proposals and full proposals will be based on:

  1. the scientific quality of the proposal,
  2. its intellectual diversity and inclusiveness,
  3. the scientific merit of the organizers, and
  4. appropriateness of budget, while of course
  5. responding to the Psi-k mission statement.

This form (as one single PDF document) should be uploaded by the deadline of Friday 31 August 2018 (midnight CEST) at

Please name your file as follows:
(example: Jones_Fundamentals_of_QM_April2019.pdf).

Pre-proposal WORD document
Pre-proposal PDF document

Reporting: The organizers of successful proposals must deliver a report of the event, and preferably provide access to the presentation materials through the Psi-k website.

With best regards,

Nicola Marzari
Psi-k Chairman

Peter Dederichs
Psi-k Financial Officer

Workshop on Spectroscopy and Dynamics of Photoinduced Electronic Excitations

From the 8th to the 12th May, over 100 scientists from over 30 countries have gathered at the Abdus Salam ICTP in Trieste, Italy, to attend the Workshop on Spectroscopy and Dynamics of Photoinduced Electronic Excitations. This workshop had the goal to put together experts in investigation of photoinduced electronic excitations in real materials. This field has experienced tremendous progress recently, mainly thanks to developments in experimental techniques, like ultrafast spectroscopy, and in theoretical methods, like many-body perturbation theory and time-dependent density functional theory. Processes of interest include photoabsorption, exciton dynamics, and charge transfer. These issues are of interest for fundamental research, but are also relevant for applications in photovoltaics, optoelectronics, and photocatalysis. The workshop consisted of lectures from leading experts in both theoretical and experimental research, and seminars on career development. Continue reading Workshop on Spectroscopy and Dynamics of Photoinduced Electronic Excitations

Share your forum posts and workshop reports to social media

Did you know that you can now share your Psi-k forum posts to Twitter and Facebook?

Reach a wider audience by tweeting your forum posts – or workshop reports – direct from the Psi-k website.

If you open the posts in the forums, or the workshop reports posted to the front page magazine, you will now see the sharing buttons at the bottom of the page.

Thank you to Mike Towler for his development work!

3rd NOMAD (Novel Materials Discovery) Industry Workshop

3rd NOMAD (Novel Materials Discovery) Industry Workshop
Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 2HP
February 5, 2018 to February 6, 2018

The objectives of NOMAD Centre of Excellence (CoE) include the creation of a materials encyclopaedia, the development of Big-Data analytics and advanced graphics tools for materials science and engineering. These goals are complementary with those of the other two CoEs supported by the European Commission and active in the field of CECAM activities (E-cam and Max). The NOMAD Researchers are currently creating a large, homogenized materials database, as well as the analytical tools and code developments necessary to extract information from it.

This was the third (and last) of a series of three industry meetings organised annually by NOMAD to get together with industry representatives. The purpose of the meeting is to listen and gather the feedback of industry on their needs and plans concerning materials data, and to in- form/train them on data-analytic tool-usage.  In addition, we share the recent developments NOMAD has carried out. At the end of each meeting, a commission made of NOMAD PI’s and selected Industrial representative discuss the outcome of the meeting and plan in which direction NOMAD development should go in order to meet the industry needs. In particular, the meeting is structured such that in a first instance, invited industry representatives present and discuss the main activities carried out in their company. In second instance, speakers from each NOMAD work package present the most recent developments and features incorporated into the NOMAD’s framework. Below we summarise what has been discussed for each work package.

Read the full workshop report here.

The electrode potential in electrochemistry – A challenge for electronic structure theory calculations

Castle Reisensburg near Ulm/Germany
November 26 – 29, 2017

Organizers: Axel Gro (Ulm University, Germany),
Michiel Sprik (Cambridge University, UK)

Processes at electrochemical electrode-electrolyte interfaces are of tremendous technological importance, in particular in the context of electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Still, atomistic  details of structures and processes at these interfaces are often still not known. This calls for a close collaboration between experiment and theory on an atomistic level. However, quantum chemical  studies addressing atomistic details of electrochemical interfaces face severe fundamental theoretical, computational and numerical

Among of the most severe problems is the proper theoretical quantum chemical description of the electrode potential. In electrochemistry, structures and properties at the  electrodeelectrolyte interface are governed by the electrode potential which has to be kept constant along the simulation of electrochemical processes. Yet, almost all of the fi rst-principles electronic structure studies addressing electrochemical systems are performed in the so called constant charge mode which, however, does not correspond to the set up used in electrochemistry experiments. It was the purpose of this purely theoretical workshop, organized by Axel Gro (Ulm University, Germany) and Michiel Sprik (Cambridge University, UK), to bring together experts in the fi eld of theoretical electrochemistry to review the current status of the field, but also to identify promising future developments. Although the main focus of the workshop was the proper theoretical  description of varying electrode potentials, also other issues such as the appropriate modeling of liquid electrolytes were addressed.

Read the full workshop report here.

TSRC TDDFT Summer School and Excited States Workshop

The first US-based summer school and workshop on Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory (TDDFT) was held July 11-21, 2017 in Telluride, CO. TDDFT is increasingly used in
computational molecular and materials science to calculate electronic-excitation spectra and dynamics in a wide variety of applications, including photocatalysis, photo-controlled bond dissociation, and light-induced charge transfer. Software development in this community targets multiple software packages, many of which are open source, such as octopus, NWchem and [email protected], which are the ones our school focused on. The goal of this first iteration was to create a home for a national community of scholars, including users and developers, with a deep understanding of TDDFT, its capabilities, limitations, and high-performance computing context. We used this opportunity to explore interest in such an event in the future and based on overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and teachers, we intend to hold a similar school+workshop every two years in the US, in order to maintain the high level of interest that we witnessed and the enthusiasm amongst participants.

Read the full workshop report here.

Anharmonicity and thermal properties of solids

10-12 January 2018, Paris, Institut Henri Poincaré

Conference organizers
Francois Bottin (CEA-DIF, France)
Johann Bouchet (CEA-DIF, France)
Matthieu Verstraete (University of Liege, Belgium)
Olle Hellman (California Institute of Technology (Caltech, US)

The quantitative prediction of harmonic phonon frequencies and thermodynamical quantities is one of the great successes of atomistic electronic structure in the past 30 years. Reality is however more complex, and vibrations are never purely harmonic. The systematic calculation of all possible anharmonic processes is a daunting task. Anharmonicity influences many important phenomena such as thermal expansion and Fourier’s law or coherent phonon generation. Heat transport is a central pillar of solid state physics and engineering, and influences many devices and properties. Both low and high conductivity materials have their uses, but historically its control has proved elusive. Simple mechanistic (grind it up) or back of the envelope (make it heavy) models reached their limits years ago. But only in the past 10-15 years a full chemically specific and atomistic prediction of lattice thermal properties has become possible. The field has blossomed at the crossroads of Chemistry, Physics, Engineerings (Energy, Mechanical, Electronic etc…), and benefi tted from a positive feedback loop
through re fined experiments and novel theories.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together cutting edge researchers in the numerical simulation and experimental determination of anharmonic phonon dynamics, and related properties (transport, ultrafast, electrons), to foster new approaches, new ideas, and give the field a decisive kick forward. We anticipate intense discussions and hotly contested debate about
where to go from here, as the terrain is wide open.

Read the full report here.