NFYA04020U The Physics of Algorithms
MSc Programme in Physics
MSc Programme in Physics w. minor subject
To provide the students with a toolbox of optimization and
modeling algorithms along with a sense of which ones work best in a
To inspire the students to make use of analogies between physics and optimization and develop new ones
Recent methods are covered where physics has contributed significantly to the understanding and development of algorithms. Examples include Monte Carlo type algorithms like simulated annealing and genetic algorithms as well as maximum entropy solutions, information theory, and neural nets. A number of such algorithms will be presented theoretically as well as in practice, and the connections between physics and optimization will be emphasized. Students will get hands-on experience with implementing the methods during the exercise sessions. Students are expected to put serious effort into these implementations.
The students have completed the course in full when they can:
- Identify analogies between physical phenomena and optimization
- Select and use optimizations methods for a particular problem and argue for their choice
- Identify optimization opportunities in their own field of research
Through this course the student will learn about modeling algorithms, optimization, Monte Carlo calculations, information theory, neural nets, a.o. Emphasis will be on understanding the relationship between physics and optimization. The students will also learn that many traditional physics laws are really optimized outcomes of particular objective functions.
The student will at the end of this course be able to understand algorithms and optimization, see their relation to physics, and especially use these techniques within their own field of research.
Course notes and excerpts from articles and books are available on the course webpage for registered students.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Oral examination, 30 minWritten assignment, ~4 weeksEach student has a choice between two forms of exam:
- a traditional oral exam without preparation time.
- a term report of max. 15 pages about a personal project agreed on between the student and teacher.
The date for the examination and the due date of the report are the same.
- All aids allowed
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
More internal examiners
same as regular exam
Criteria for exam assesment
See learning outcome
- Theory exercises
- Theory exercises