FYS4460 – Disordered systems and percolation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides an introduction to methods and problems in modern statistical physics with emphasis on algorithmic and computational methods. The applications addressed and the computational methods introduced are relevant for material science, complex systems, chemistry, solid-state, molecular-, and bio-physics.

The course aims to build understanding for the macroscopic effects of microscopic interactions using numerical simulations of microscopic models coupled with a concurrent development of a relevant theoretical framework.

The course gives an introduction to the most central numerical methods in molecular dynamics modeling, algorithmic modeling of disordered systems, and to discrete models for fluids, including:

  • Atomic- and molecular dynamics for various ensembles, thermostats, fluctuations, and the coupling to continuum models
  • Random walks, renormalization, scaling, and fractals
  • Percolation: Finite-size scaling, Cluster- and subset geometry, Renormalization
  • Disordered systems: Diffusion, transport, and mechanical properties of disordered systems, Dynamic processes in disordered systems, and Growth processes far from equilibrium
  • Discrete models for fluids: Lattice-gas and lattice-Boltzman models, Dissipative Particle Dynamics, and Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

The extent of coverage of the various subjects depends on the choice of projects, and on student interests.

Learning outcome

The student learns a range of central algorithms and methods used in modern statistical physics. The course is project based. Through the projects the student will be exposed to problems from concurrent research. The aim is to be able to reproduce and potentially extend these results. The students learn to develop well-structured codes, to analyze complex systems, and to apply sound scientific principles when studying their own data. Examples and applications will mainly come from material science and the geo-sciences.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with FYS9460


The course extends over a full semester with 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of colloquia per week. Compulsory theoretical and numerical assignments are included.


Final oral exam.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching.


Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)