Scientists from IFW Dresden teamed up with colleagues from over 30 universities and institutes to investigate to what extent quantum simulations of material properties agree when they are performed with different software, independently coded. Thanks to an online collaboration, they successfully demonstrated that the most recent generations of codes agree well, in contrast to earlier generations. Their study has been published in Science (issue published 25 March 2016).
Reproducibility does not come easily
It's a corner stone of science: independent yet identical experiments should produce the same results. Only in this way can science identify ‘laws’, which lead to new insight and sometimes to new technologies. However, several recent studies have pointed out that such reproducibility does not always come spontaneously.
In scientific areas as diverse as psychology research and genetic research, cases were identified where repeating previous experiments led to very different results. Even predictions by computer codes require caution, since the way in which theoretical models are implemented may affect simulation results. This is a reason for concern in any field of research that critically depends on computer simulations.
For the study and design of materials, for instance, there are several independently coded software packages available based on quantum physics. They are moreover being used increasingly often in automated procedures with limited human supervision. It is therefore essential to know to what extent predicted materials properties depend on the code that has been used.
Online collaboration brings experts together
Despite the need for reliable property predictions of materials, the reproducibility of quantum simulations had not been investigated systematically before. This is mainly because there is no single person sufficiently skilled in all existing codes. Scientists from IFW Dresden therefore joined forces with more than 60 colleagues, bringing together the know-how of over 30 prominent institutions.
The researchers investigated 40 different methods to describe the influence of pressure in 71 different crystals. Due to the highly international composition of the team, discussions and collaboration were mainly conducted via online tools – similarly to the way people collaborate to write Wikipedia.
The team can now demonstrate that, although a few of the older methods clearly yield deviating results, predictions by recent codes are equivalent. This includes a method with about 600,000 lines of code developed at IFW Dresden (http://www.fplo.de/).
Moreover, the authors define a quality criterion that allows the verification of future software developments against their extensive database. New test data are continuously added to a publicly available website (http://molmod.ugent.be/DeltaCodesDFT). The researchers involved hope that their work will contribute to higher standards for materials property simulations, and that it will facilitate the development of improved simulation codes and methods.
Dr. Manuel Richter
Institute for Theoretical Solid State Physics at IFW Dresden
Dr. Carola Langer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside
Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
25.10.2016 | Process Engineering