Computer Simulation of Dynamical Systems: The Good, the Bad, and the Awful

Leo Kadanoff
University of Chicago

Excellent computer simulations are done for a purpose. The most valid purposes are to explore uncharted territory, resolve a well-posed scientific or technical question, or to make a design choice. Stand-alone modeling can serve the first purpose. The other two need a full integration of the modeling effort into a scientific or engineering program.

Some excellent work, much of it related to the Department of Energy Laboratories, is reviewed. Some less happy stories are recounted.

In the past, the most impressive work has involved multiple scales. Prediction in a world of multiple scales requires a first principles understanding based upon the intersection of theory, experiment and simulation.

* Supported in part by the ASCI/FLASH program at the University of Chicago

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