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Help me come up with a computational physics project

  1. Feb 12, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I am taking a computational physics course right now and we have to do a project for the semester.

    I have been trying to think of a project to do. It can be a pretty wide range of things. So far we have been doing various numerical approximations with different systems with coupled differential equations, etc.

    I am probably going to use matlab to do the modeling. We can really choose just about anything, but i would like it to be at least loosely connected with physics.

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I have thought of a couple of things, but nothing yet that seems really that compelling...

    1. I was thinking about modeling the heat equation for solids of either 2 or 3 dimensions with multiple point sources of heat.
    2. An airplane achieving lift.
    3. Simple bridge/truss stress analyzer.

    The problem is that it is really hard to find a problem that, while being interesting, is not too easy, and not close to being a PhD thesis.

    If anyone has any ideas of something i could do, i'd really appreciate it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2009 #2
    When I took computational physics some years ago, the professor suggested the following subjects as the final project.

    1. complex networks
    2. protein folding
    3. synchronization (oscillator)
    4. stochastic resonance
    5. fractal surface growth phenomena
    6. granular media
    7. pattern formation
    8. contact process
    9. Chaos
    10. Econo-physics
    11. bio-physics, genetic networks
    12. membrane
    13. Ising model, XY-model, Potts model (Josephson junction array)
    14. Traffic problem
    15. SOC
    16. Neural networks
    17. Minority game (agent based model)
    18. Random walk
    19. Percolation
    20. Polymer
    21. Phase Transition
    22. Monte Carlo method (quantum, cluster …)
    23. Computer Algorithm

    He also told us to consult with the following website.


    Hope this would help.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Feb 13, 2009 #3
    Thanks for the prompt reply!

    These are great ideas... i was actually thinking a lot about granular flow before you made your post, but thought that it could possibly be a bit too complicated....

    after looking for some similar materials and such, as well as checking out the site that you gave me, i think that this may be what i go with.

    any other ideas are appreciated!
  5. Feb 13, 2009 #4


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    Gold Member

    You could study the application of the concept of Nash equilibrium to traffic flow. I can't find the article now, but IIR a large highway in a Korean city was discontinued so a park could be built. The locals expected huge traffic jams due to the closing, which did not materialized. It seems that when everybody acts in his or her own self-interest, the end result can be less-than-optimal for almost everybody. If I find the article, I'll post a link here.
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