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Computer simulations using path integrals: a lookback perspective
In this talk I am going to review my research activity related to assessing the importance of quantum diffraction effects in statistical systems. I have been using the path-integral formulation of quantum statistical mechanics as the main investigative tool, and I developed computer codes implementing it in many different situations, with energy scales ranging from meV to MeV.
In the first part, I will introduce the general methodology by describing recent high-accuracy calculations of the equation of state of non-degenerate quantum gases (He and H2). Afterwards, I will describe the (adverse) influence of quantum effects on the possibility of storing hydrogen in novel nanoporous materials. Finally, I will briefly comment on the application of the same computational techniques to the study of heavy-quark dynamics in a quark-gluon plasma.