The accurate determination of the phase behavior of materials is one of the central and most challenging goals of computational materials science that is of great significance both for fundamental research as well as for technological applications. Due to the rapid increase in computing power combined with the development of efficient computer simulation algorithms, the accurate prediction of phase diagrams of even complex materials is now becoming routinely possible providing an efficient and inexpensive way for the rapid screening of new materials. In addition, such computer simulations provide important microscopic information on the properties of stable and metastable phases, which is of crucial importance for targeted materials design.
Another related challenge both for theory and experiment consists in understanding the transformations that lead to the formation of new stable or metastable phases. These processes are typically characterized by rapid transitions between long-lived structures often passing through a sequence of several transient intermediates. Identifying the detailed pathways followed during such transformations is of crucial importance for understanding and, eventually, controlling transformation processes paving the way towards true materials design.
The subjects covered at the proposed Winter School reflect part of the scientific activities of the Vienna Computational Materials Laboratory (ViCoM), a major joint research initiative of the University of Vienna, the Technical University of Vienna and the Technical University of Graz funded by the Austrian Science Foundation FWF. All organizers of the Winter School belong to the SFB ViCoM, which will sponsor the proposed Winter School with an amount of 15.000 Euros.
On each day of the conference, mornings will be devoted to basic introductory lectures, which will provide the students with the conceptual and methodological foundations of the field. The introductory lectures of three hours each will be organized in the three blocks. In the first block, a theoretical lecture on the thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of phase transitions on Monday will be followed by a lecture on how to compute phase diagrams using computer simulations on Tuesday. The second block will be organized in an analogous succession of basic theory followed by computer simulation, with a lecture on transition state theory and classical nucleation theory on Wednesday and a lecture on the simulation of rare events on Thursday. The third block, consisting of one lecture only on Friday, will be devoted to the dynamics of micromagnetic systems as an example of how to treat phase transitions with a continuum description based on free energy functionals.
Each day, a long lunch break will provide the opportunity of engaging in joint activities outdoors or indoors to foster interactions between all participants of the Winter School.
Late afternoons will be reserved for advanced lectures on topics of current interest and for computer exercise classes, in which the students apply what they have learned in the lectures to concrete problems.
To provide a lasting learning experience for the students of the Winter School we have asked the following internationally renowned scientists, selected for their research achievements but in particular also their pedagogical skills, to lecture at the Winter School.
The Summer School will take place at the Ski Austria Academy in St. Christoph am Arlberg. Nestled in the beautiful Arlberg mountains, the Ski Academy Austria offers excellent room and board at moderate prices as well as modern conference facilities featuring various seminar rooms for 20-60 people and a lecture for up to 200 people. Single, double and triple rooms are available. Do to the rather isolated location of the conference venue in a small village of the Austrian Alps at an elevation of 1700 m, participants will have ample opportunity to spend time together for discussions and networking. Interactions between participants will be promoted by joint outdoor activities such as skiing or snowboarding during the extended lunch breaks.
St. Christoph is about 100 km from Innsbruck and can be easily reached from there by car (1 hour 15 minutes) or train (1 hour). Alternatively, one can also easily get to St. Christoph from Zürich (200km away) by car (2 hours 15 minutes) or train (2 hours 20 minutes, there are several direct connections daily).
SKI AUSTRIA ACADEMY
A-6580 St. Anton am Arlberg
Tel.: +43 5446 2627
Fax: +43 5446 3582