“Talent 2023” Czech competition high-school student Filip Neubauer stayed in our group two weeks

Czech Republic is organizing lots of opportunities for young talents. The Talent competition is one of them.

During two weeks, Filip Neubauer (from the high school of Stepanska, Praha) joined the group and had possibility to work on some of our datasets using machine learning.

It was great to interact with one of the new talents of this country and hope to see Filip coming back to us very soon!

Prof. Kazuhiro Yabana visited us at the HiLASE Centre

On September 18th 2023, we received the visit of Prof. Kazuhiro Yabana from the Institute of Computational Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan.

The visit started with an overview of the Hilase Centre activities, introduced by Sanin Zulić, International Business Development Manager of HiLASE.

Prof. Yabana then presented a seminar titled “Time-dependent density functional theory for extremely nonlinear optics”, where features of the massively parallel simulation code “SALMON” was presented.

The talk was followed by an overview of activities of the department of Scientific Laser Applications (SLA) by Prof. Nadezhda M. Bulgakova, leader of the SLA department.

It was supplemented by a presentation of the quantum simulation activities of the Hilase Centre by Dr. Thibault JY Derrien, leader of the group of Ultrafast Photonics,

The visit was concluded by a tour of the femtosecond laboratory of the SLA department.

Prof. Yabana and the Hilase Centre are members of the Marie Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange “ATLANTIC” network.

(Website of the Marie Curie RISE network “ATLANTIC”) (in English).

(Prof. Yabana, member of the “ATLANTIC” project) (in Japanese).

Our experience with Top500.org machines

Our usage of high performance computers, mostly machines of the Top500 charts, started in 2008.

  1. Since 2019: Top500 Karolina (IT4I.cz), thanks to IT4I-OPEN calls
  2. 2023: Sunrise (ELI beamlines, Czech Republic)
  3. 2022: Eclipse (ELI beamlines, Czech Republic)
  4. 2020 – 2023: Navigator (University of Cumbria, Portugal) thanks to PRACE DECI calls
  5. 2019: Barbora (IT4I.cz), thanks to IT4I-OPEN calls
  6. 2016: Top500 Salomon (IT4I.cz), thanks to IT4I-OPEN calls
  7. 2019 – 2020: Top500 Prometheus (Cyfronet, Poland) thanks to PRACE DECI calls
  8. 2018 – 2019: first user of Top500 Draco (MPCDF, Germany)
  9. 2016 – 2018: Top500 EOS (Fritz Haber Institute, Germany)
  10. 2010 – 2012: Top500 Jade (CINES.fr, France)

Since 2016, our main usage is to run the Octopus TDDFT simulation code for preparing predictions of light interaction with solid materials.

We offer a wide portfolio of services

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  • Benefit from our expertise in advanced physics and chemistry, and from internationally recognized expertise in laser-material interaction, laser processing and numerical modeling. Our tailored predictions range from few seconds to Top500-supercomputing based solutions, including electromagnetics, thermodynamics and advanced quantum physics.
  • We also have renowned expertise in highly-regular laser nanostructuring for which we were granted EU patent since 2017. Simulations of novel advanced configurations can be prepared.
  • We can perform consulting and excellence for European proposal drafting, consortium build-up, scientific diplomacy, and project management.
  • We can do code adaptation to super-computing resources.
  • We can do consulting in computational resources management and administration (HPC Linux).
  • We can also provide teaching of Mathematics, Computational Sciences, Physics and Chemistry.
  • We also offer supervision and mentoring of staff (career support).
  • Scientific writing, English, French & Czech editing, translations of scientific manuscripts.

We operate in the Czech Republic, in Germany and France. Contact us!

Training in Quantum computing

With the arrival of a quantum computer in the Czech Republic (IT4I/LUMI-Q), it is necessary to start training on quantum simulation techniques.

For this purpose, BIATRI2 server is now equipped with Qiskit Nature (the version dedicated to solving problems of natural sciences) and PySCF.

Bridging between Octopus TDDFT and Qiskit is currently under study.

Summer difficulties on high-power computations activities

Our PRACE DECI project finished in May 2023.
Our IT4I-OPEN project is finishing on July 23rd 2023.
Next call would provide computational time from end September 2023.
Our main bridge ELI beamlines is no longer able to cover up due to technical issues.

Any solution for bridging this difficult period is welcome.

Edit: we are in discussion with ELI beamlines to try getting computer time there.

Edit2: project to IT4I has been submitted in collaboration with Max Born Institute and with FemtoST (Besançon, France) and should provide super-computing time for the end of September.

Funding of the group for July 1st – Dec 31st 2023

From July 1st, the group of Ultrafast Photonics is funded by the Center of Excellent – Teaming Project of HiLASE Centre, until end of Dec 2023. After that date, FTEs of the group will decrease from 2.15 to 0.7 based on institutional funds. In the context of decrease of national budget investment into research by 50% in 2023 and 10% in 2024 (while cumulated inflation on the period 2017-2023 has been of 50%), the future of the research group has to rely on multiple applications for public funding and on attracting funds from private sector as well.

The group is open to any proposition that would improve conditions of work. Spinning-off for several activities is envisioned (e.g., nanostructuring, predictions for light-matter interaction, high-power computation).

PhD student Andrés I. Bertoni was hosted for 2 months thanks to Marie Curie networking action “ATLANTIC”

A PhD student from University of Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina) was hosted 2 months by the HiLASE Centre, Prague, thanks to the Marie Curie networking action “Research and Innovation Staff Exchange” named “ATLANTIC”.

Andres was hosted in the group of “Ultrafast Photonics” of HiLASE and worked on the first-principle optical response of solids. It was a great opportunity to exchange with students from the Czech Republic and to visit the laboratory of assoc. prof. Kovaricek (University of Chemical Technologies).

Andrés plans to join for a second trip this winter, shortly before the end of the “ATLANTIC” project.

T. Derrien attended the “Frontiers in Excited State Electronic Structure Methods” ICTP workshop in Trieste

Dr. Thibault J.-Y. Derrien, the Leader of the Group of Ultrafast Photonics (Department of Scientific Laser Applications)attended the “Workshop on Frontiers in Excited State Electronic Structure Methods: from Spectroscopy to Photochemistry”, held at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste (Italy) from May 16th to May 19th. The workshop gathered the researchers of the field of the first-principle modeling chemistry community.

Dr. Derrien presented results of his group on the excitation of solids upon excitation by intense laser light, developed in the context of the WP1-WP2 of the project BIATRI: No. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000445 and WP3-WP5 of Marie Curie RISE ATLANTIC project No. 823897 (www.atlantic-rise.eu).

The Workshop provided an excellent opportunity to meet several members of the theoretical network in the frames of the project “ATLANTIC” of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) (Horizon 2020) who also attended the workshop:

– Dr. Carlos Bustamante (now hosted by Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg),
– Prof. Cristian Sanchez (University of Cuyo, Argentina) and his PhD student Andrés I. Bertoni.
– Prof. Damian Scherliz (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina),
– Prof. Jorge Kohanoff (Queen’s University of Belfast, North Ireland, and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain).

The disruption of public research under war in Ukrain context

Inflation in the Czech Republic between 2017 and 2023 has increased from 2% to 16.3% year to year [1,2]. In average, if one wins/pays 100 Kc in 2017, an equivalent value in 2023 should be 148 Kc, mostly due to debt induced by COVID and to inflation induced by war in Ukraine. Previsions for next year run around some predicted return to 2% [2].

Situation would have been fine if salaries would have followed this major trend. But they didn’t follow in the public sector, while they were increased in the private sector.

This is suggested by conjunction of two indicators. The average salary in the Czech Republic in that period did increase by 27.8% [3], and in this inflating context, the annual budget for the Institute of Physics by the Academy of Sciences has been … reduced by 43% between 2022 and 2023 [4].

In view of adapting to this problematic situation, the proposed alternative should be to apply for funding through European and national projects, but the success rate of these is close to 10% overall. One can plan to write 10 of them per year (writing 1 project takes 250h of work for 1 person) – but deploying such amount of energy is not given to all.

An alternative is to capitalize on the previously patented technologies. Or to reshape the developed competences as a service, and to sell it to whom would be interested.

Science and technology in the public sector seem to become less and less sustainable in the Czech Republic. Setting the strategy to fund permanent positions of public sector on management costs of projects brought by motivated scientists should not be considered as a sustainable scheme, since the funds invested in training people are big. The developed competences and know-how cannot be thrown away from the Czech Republic like that. It must be re-invested. Solutions must be proposed, such as creating a private activity from the developed skills. Given the rate of the inflation, this appears to be a rather urgent measure so that salaries can from now on be indexed on inflation, an expected measure that could help the life of many workers.

[1] https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/CZE/czech-republic/inflation-rate-cpi

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/369876/inflation-rate-in-czech-republic/

[3] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1268010/czechia-average-monthly-gross-wage/

[4] https://www.fzu.cz/sites/default/files/2023-05/Rozpo%C4%8Det%20provozn%C3%ADch%20n%C3%A1klad%C5%AF%20a%20v%C3%BDnos%C5%AF%20rok%202023_podeps%C3%A1no.pdf