Materials Computation Center

2012 Summer School on Computational Materials Science

Quantum Monte Carlo: Theory and Fundamentals

Held July 23-27, 2012 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2012 Icon This school aims to bring together scientists from the fields of geophysics, physics, materials science, chemistry and high-performance computing to learn fundamentals of Quantum Monte Carlo theory and its applications.

The school format included morning lectures and afternoon interactive laboratories. The level of instruction is appropriate for first-year graduate students. Participants from previous schools have included advanced undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, faculty, and research scientists.

Many videos and lecture notes from previous years are listed below.


The schedule and program of talks and events is available.


  • July 21, 2012 -- FAQ:
    • How late can I check in at the dorms (918 W. Illinois St.)? The dorm is open 24 hours, so you can get a key to your room at any time. The parking is first-come, first-served. If their lot is full, they will refer you to another dorm's parking lot.
    • How do I get to the dorms? From either Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign, or from the Willard Airport, you can take a taxi or a bus to the dorms. Taxi is easiest.
    • How do I get to Beckman Institute (405 North Mathews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois)? Follow Beckman's instructions or if you're in town, it's an easy walk from the dorms. See the campus map of Beckman Institute and housing.
    • I am arriving too late for the computer laptop setup session on Sunday night. What should I do? We'll try to find you a computing partner, and spend some time over lunch helping you, on Monday.
    • Where should I eat? There are lots of restaurants, but many close at 9-10pm during the summer. The Beckman Cafeteria serves hot breakfasts and lunches each day of the workshop.
    • Where can I print my poster on campus? There is a Fedex/Kinko's print shop down the street from Beckman, 613 S. Wright Street.
    • When do I put up my poster?Anytime on Tuesday, you can put up your poster in the Beckman Atrium. You can take them down on Wednesday, after the poster session.
  • July 19, 2012 -- A campus map of Beckman Institute, the housing options, and nearby buildings of interest is available.
  • July 18, 2012 -- We have reached the minimum number of participants to offer the tour of the Blue Waters Petascale Computing Facility. The tour will take place on Friday afternoon. See the program for details.
  • July 11, 2012 -- The week's schedule is available. Talk slides are linked as they become available.

Recommended Reading

The instructors recommend familiarizing yourself with these materials, before you come:

  • Ceperley, D. M., Path Integrals in the Theory of Condensed Helium , Rev. Mod. Phys. 67, 279 (1995)
  • Quantum Monte Carlo simulations of solids, W. M. C. Foulkes, L. Mitas, R. J. Needs, and G. Rajagopal Rev. Mod Phys 73, 33 (2001)
  • the Abinit tutorial #3 on crystalline silicon:
Poster Preview

Topics include

  • Introduction to Monte Carlo Methods
  • Variational Quantum Monte Carlo
  • Diffusion Quantum Monte Carlo
  • Pseudopotential generation
  • Wavefunction optimization methods
  • Path integral Monte Carlo
  • QMC applications in geophysics


  • David Ceperley, University of Illinois
  • Ronald Cohen, Carnegie Institution of Washington
  • Luke Shulenburger, Scandia National Laboratory
  • Eric de Sturler, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Jeongnim Kim, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Burkhard Militzer, University of California at Berkeley

Lab instructors

  • Kevin Driver, University of California at Berkeley
  • Jeremy McMinis, University of Illinois

Fees and expenses

There is a registration fee of $150 for accepted applicants. Poster presenters receive a $75 fee reduction.

You can pay online via credit card at secure website.

Housing at a nearby dormitory will be provided at no cost to non-local partipants for the duration of the school. In addition, some travel support is available based on need. Applicants should indicate their expected expenses and financial needs to attend the school, when applying.

Participants are responsible for their meals. Coffee breaks will be provided.

Application deadlines

  • April 1, 2012 for international applicants needing visas
  • June 11, 2012 for preliminary decisions
  • July 1, 2012 for all others

Contact information

  • Web:
  • Email:

Summer school sponsors

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • Materials Computation Center, University of Illinois
    • Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory
    • Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
    • Network for Computational Nanotechnology
  • National Science Foundation
    • Supporting awards from the National Science Foundation:
      DMR 03-25939, DMS 10-24936, DMS-10-25327, and DMS-1025370
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Organizers: D. Ceperley, R. Cohen, E. de Sturler, J. Kim, B. Militzer, N. Sobh, U. Ravaioli