Welcome new faculty: Asst. Professor Bryan Clark
Bryan Clark is a condensed matter theorist who specializes in the use and development of computational simulations and models to study the complexity of behaviors and interactions within many body and strongly correlated systems. In this work, Clark fully exploits today’s powerful supercomputing capabilities and he has written a wide range of highly efficient and massively parallel numerical codes, while developing novel numerical methods that improve the accuracy, parallelizability and efficiency of computing properties of many body systems. Clark was selected for an inaugural Blue Waters Professorship, which confers a significant commitment of Blue Waters computing resources, up to 240,000 node hours per year.
Clark’s broad research interests are reflected in his substantial list of publications and invited talks on a range subjects—supersolids, mesoscopic phases, water, the dynamics of cold atoms, and frustrated magnets.
Clark explains, “In this research area, there are no fast, exact methods, which is in some sense disappointing, because it’s hard to get answers. But in another sense, it’s exciting: it means the opportunity for fresh perspectives and for finding new methods is wide open. This is especially true with strongly correlated materials: in these systems, thinking about the behavior of individual electrons isn’t effective. If you take the material and parse it down to a simplified model, it’s still hard to solve. In my research, I apply computational tools to better understand how a material behaves and interacts, identify different phases of matter, and establish whether a material can be induced to exhibit interesting properties.”
At Illinois, Clark is looking forward to building a strong research group of graduate and undergraduate students interested in condensed matter, to explore superconducting systems, quantum dynamics, and frustrated magnetism.
“Having spent my graduate years at Illinois, I came to appreciate this department’s unique strength in condensed matter, its collegial atmosphere, and its driving passion for physics that permeates both faculty and students,” he comments. “This, along with strong peers on both the experimental and theoretical sides with whom to interact, makes me excited to return to Urbana.”
Clark joins the faculty as a member of the Institute of Condensed Matter Theory.
Clark received his bachelor’s degrees in physics and in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2002. He received his doctoral degree in physics from the U. of I. in 2009, working under Professor David Ceperley.
Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois, Clark worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, CA, (fall 2013) and before that at the Microsoft Research-Station Q in Santa Barbara, CA, (beginning in 2012). Prior to that, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University (2009–2012).