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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Computational Physics

This interdisciplinary area, which brings together physics and computer science, is dramatically growing. The rapidly increasing power of computers and growing sophistication of computational techniques have recently made computational approaches to solving fundamental problems much more important and exciting. Here at SU we are contributing extensively to this area of study. The physics department has excellent computing facilities, including a 2300-processor computational cluster for LIGO data analysis, a 144-processor computational cluster for condensed matter simulations and allocations on supercomputer facilities at Fermilab and Jefferson Lab for particle physics simulations. These clusters are enhanced by graphics processing units (GPUs) and have over 100,000 GPU cores in addition to the traditional CPUs. Scientists in the Physics Department have been instrumental in constructing a "campus grid" which leverages spare CPU cycles from desktop computers on the SU campus for research computing. The department teaches courses on simulation methods, where students learn computer programming, as applied to simulation and visualizing physical systems, such as planetary systems and waves. Undergraduates at SU have participated in computational research to understand the properties of complex materials, to calculate interactions of elementary particles and to model sources of gravitational waves.