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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Ying-Jer Kao_高英哲
Professor Ying-Jer Kao
Department of Physics, National Taiwan University

It is my great pleasure to host Ms. Yvonne Kung from Stanford University in my research group at Department of Physics, National Taiwan University (NTU), through the 2012 Summer Institute in Taiwan (SIT) program. My group performs research in the field of theoretical condensed matter physics, and specializes in the numerical simulations of the strongly correlated systems. Especially, we have extensive experience on the numerical techniques based on quantum Monte Carlo (QMC), and tensor network states (TNS), as well as high performance computing using the graphic processing unit (GPU). Yvonne has proposed to collaborate with my group to extend TNS to study strong electron-phonon couplings in the Hubbard-Holstein model.

In her own Ph. D. research, Yvonne has worked on the Hubbard-Holstein model using the determinant quantum Monte Carlo (DQMC). We are very interested in learning what she has done in the past. When she first arrived, I scheduled her to give a talk to the group on her research, and it spurred quite some interests among my students. One of my students is inspired to work on a GPU version of DQMC, with Yvonne’s help.
Although there is a strong overlap between Yvonne and my own research interests, I find seven weeks are a little bit too short for the proposed research, as we later realized the problem is far more complicated than we expected. However, my group benefits from Yvonne’s expertise on DQMC, and a new project was initiated. She also has some exposure to the technique used in my group, which can be useful for her future research.

To facilitate the interaction between her and my group, I placed her in the same office as my graduate students. I observe very active interactions among them, not only scientifically, but also socially. They discussed physics together, and organized trips to restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, etc. I believe Yvonne has made several good friends during her stay in Taiwan. Many of the students are curious about the American graduate student life, and some of them plans to pursue their higher degrees in the U.S. in the near future. She definitely helps people to better understand what to expect in the future.

Even before Yvonne arrived, I can sense her enthusiasm about coming to Taiwan in her email exchanges with me. This is her first visit to Taiwan, a place where both sides of her family were originally from. Since she is fluent in Mandarin, she has no trouble exploring Taiwan by herself. The SIT program offers a great chance for Yvonne to reconnect with her family and culture roots. I believe this is beyond any scientific experience can offer.

In summary, I am glad that Yvonne could spend two months in my group. I hope she enjoyed her stay in Taiwan, and I expect future collaborations with Yvonne.
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