PSI-K/CECAM Workshop on Ultrafast Physics from Molecules to Nanostructures

Joint Psi-K / CECAM workshop: Ultrafast Physics from Molecules to Nanostructures
Dates: 7-10. October 2019
Location: San Sebastian, Spain

The impressive progress in ultrafast laser technology, ranging from the femtosecond to the attosecond timescale and from the THz to the XUV frequency range, is making possible to probe real-time electronic and nuclear dynamics in atoms, molecules and solids. Fundamental insight can be gained into the primary photoinduced processes in systems with growing level of complexity. The capability of following and steering ultrafast dynamics has tremendous impact in a wide range of applications, from materials science to life sciences.

Clearly, advances in theories and methods inevitably require an intense exchange with the experimental community due to the complexity of the systems and of the measurements. In the last decade the effort in developing predictive and computationally feasible methods has virtually exploded. Ab initio approaches based DFT and nonequilibrium Green’s function (NEGF) have recently made contact with time-resolved experiments in 2D systems and nanostructures. Other ab initio methods based on wavefunctions (e.g., ADCn, CASPTn) or reduced quantities (e.g., TDDFT, NEGF) are opening up high prospects to access the electron-nuclear subfemtosecond dynamics in molecules. Furthermore, accurate real-time numerical methods have been put forward for strongly correlated model systems (e.g., TD- DMFT and DMRG).

The workshop has gathered world-leading experimental, theoretical and computational experts working in the field of electronic and nuclear dynamics in atoms, molecules and solids. These four days have provided a unique cross- fertilization opportunity to advance the current ab-initio state-of-the-art approaches. Several key and crucial questions have been vividly and intensely debated: how to extend the accuracy of ab-initio methods out-of-equilibrium? How to efficiently benefit from the advances in computation facilities to simulate the nonequilibrium dynamics of large molecules, nanostructures and solids? How to translate laser-pulse features (pulse center frequency, bandwidth, duration, fluence, polarization) into boundary conditions and suitable approximations for the computational tools? Can we devise a series of tools and procedures to provide to the community? We have also confronted different theoretical formulations of experimental outcomes, discuss their range of applicability as well as their physical and numerical limitations. For the various approaches we have explored how to include the missing physics and whether this inclusion is numerically feasible.

Giulio Cerullo (PM, Milano)
Hardy Gross (MPI, Halle)
Andrea Marini (CNR, Rome)
Mauro Nisoli (PM, Milano)
Angel Rubio (MPI, Hamburg)
Gianluca Stefanucci (UTV, Rome)

Read the full report here.


Psi-k 2020 conference postponed to next year (August 2021)

Dear Psi-k’ers,

As mentioned earlier, the COVID-19 created much uncertainty regarding whether the Psi-k conference could be held this year. It has now been decided by the Board of Trustees that it is indeed not possible to ensure that the conference can take place this September. The conference is therefore postponed to next year, and it will be held on August 23-26, 2021, preserving the same format, plenary and invited speakers, and symposia.

The registration platform will be reopened later this year – we will contact you directly in the coming days in case you had already registered for this year.

We are in the process of reconfirming the participation of the speakers.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to meeting you next year!

Best regards,

Nicola Marzari
Psi-k conference organization

Big Data Summer: A summer school of the BiGmax Network

Platja d’Aro, Spain, September 9 – 13, 2019



Gerhard Dehm
Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung, Düsseldorf, Germany
Claudia Draxl
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Matthias Scheffler
Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany
Jilles Vreeken
CISPA – Helmholtz Center for Information Security, Germany


Materials science is entering an era where the growth of data from experiments and simulations is expanding beyond a level that is addressable by established scientific methods. The so-called “4 V challenge” – concerning Volume (the amount of data), Variety (the heterogeneity of form and meaning of data), Velocity (the rate at which data may change or new data arrive), and Veracity (uncertainty of quality) is clearly becoming eminent. Issues are, for example, an early discrimination between valuable and irrelevant experimental data, understanding errors in both experiment and theory, and assigning error bars and trust levels to density-functional theory high-throughput screening results, just to name a few. Most importantly, however, is that Big Data of materials science provide a significant chance for new insight and knowledge gain when fully exploiting its information by artificial intelligence concepts and methods. All the above aspects – from data processing to exploiting the potentials of data-driven materials science – require new and dedicated approaches.

Continue reading Big Data Summer: A summer school of the BiGmax Network

Psi-k Administration Update

Dear Psi-k Community

This is just a quick update from Psi-k administration.

Firstly, I hope that you are all doing OK and that you are managing to adapt to this new and strange situation we all find ourselves in? The last few weeks have certainly been challenging for everyone.

I am now fully set-up for home working and will be answering all of the emails received over the last few weeks in the next day or two. Thank you for your patience. As you can imagine there were certain parts of my day-to-day job that needed to be prioritised in order to ensure that things could go on as normally as possible. Everything is now in order and I can start to catch up on emails and actions that had to be put to one side.

I hope that you all continue to stay safe and that we can return to normal quickly.

Best Regards



The Department of Chemistry and the Thomas Young Centre at Imperial College London and the Theoretical Chemistry Group of the University of Torino, in collaboration with the Computational
Materials Science Group of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), organized the 2019 MSSC Summer School on the “ab initio modelling of crystalline and defective solids with the CRYSTAL code”.

CRYSTAL is a general-purpose program for the study of periodic solids. It uses a local basis set comprised of Gaussian type functions and can be used to perform calculations at the Hartree-Fock, density functional or global and range-separated hybrid functionals (e.g. B3LYP, HSE06), double hybrid levels of theory. Analytical first derivatives with respect to the nuclear coordinates and cell parameters and analytical derivatives, up to fourth order, with respect to an applied electric field (CPHF/CPKS) are available.

The school provided an overview of the underlying theory and fundamental issues affecting use of the code, with particular emphasis on practical issues in obtaining reliable data efficiently using modern computer hardware.

All information about the school can be found on this website:

Read the full workshop report here: MSSC2019_Psi-k_report

Registration for Psi-k 2020 is now open!!!

SwissTech Convention Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland
Monday 14 – Thursday 17 September 2020



With the current COVID-19 situation causing the cancellation of major events and conferences around the world, there is now significant uncertainty regarding Psi-k 2020 as well. Although we are still hoping that the conference can take place as planned, we are following the evolution of the situation closely and expect to have a clearer idea in the next few weeks regarding whether to maintain the event, or whether to postpone it to next year.

In order to avoid incurring any potential cancellation costs, we recommend that you refrain from making any travel plans for the time being.

The registration system has been suspended until a final decision is made — if the conference is maintained this year, all registration deadlines will be extended. Participants who had already registered will be contacted once a final decision is made.

Thank you for your patience in these exceptional time, and stay safe!

This is the largest event worldwide in first-principles simulations; it is held every 5 years (the last two editions, in Berlin in 2010 and in San Sebastian in 2015, had more than 1000 participants each), and with 7 plenary talks, 140 invited talks, and 170 contributed talks it promises to be the most exciting, defining event in the field.

Early-bird deadline is May 1, 2020 – one can register right away, and submit an abstract later (by May 1, 2020, to be considered for a contributed talk, or by Aug. 1, 2020, for a poster). All information – including registration, program, accommodation, and childcare – is available at Continue reading Registration for Psi-k 2020 is now open!!!

Scientific Report on the “Workshop on Computational Physics and Material Science: Total Energy and Force Methods 2020”

This event was the latest in the “mini” series associated with the “Total Energy and Force Methods” workshops, held at ICTP in Trieste every two years. Since 1987 the Trieste workshops have taken place in odd-numbered years, alternating with the mini workshops, held each even-numbered year in a different location. The most recent workshops of the mini series took place in Madrid (2000), Tenerife (2002), Paris (2004), Cambridge (2006), Bonn (2008), Shanghai (2010), Barcelona (2012), Lausanne (2014), Luxembourg (2016), and Cambridge (2018).

The workshop focused on the most recent developments in the field of electronic structure methods from the first-principles perspective, their diverse applications and mathematical foundations. The numerous approaches that are developed and used in the electronic-structure community provide the foundation for computing many physical and chemical properties of solids, liquids, and low-dimensional systems. However, there are numerous challenging applications for which the level of approximation is insufficient or where computational costs are prohibitive for accurate quantitative prediction of material properties. Therefore, continued efforts are devoted to the improvement of existing methods, and the development of new methods.

Read the full report here:


Volker Heine on Wikipedia

How much do you know about one of the founders of Psi-k Volker Heine, who is considered a pioneer of theoretical and computational studies of the electronic structure of solids and liquids and the determination of physical properties derived from it?

Psi-k awards the Volker Heine Prize for young researchers during the Psi-k Get Together at the Spring DPG Meetings in Germany – the last was awarded in Berlin in 2018 – but who is Volker Heine?

Have a look at Volker’s Wikipedia page and read more about his life, research and achievements.

Ab initio (from electronic structure) calculation of complex processes in materials