Nuclear Physics from Quantum Chromodynamics

Nuclear Physics from Quantum Chromodynamics


  • Martin J. Savage, The University of Washington Institute for Nuclear Theory, Seattle
January 18, 2018 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


A century of coherent experimental and theoretical investigations has uncovered the laws of nature that underly nuclear physics. Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) and quantum electrodynamics (QED), both quantum field theories with a small number of precisely constrained input parameters, dominate the dynamics of the quarks and gluons—the underlying building blocks of protons, neutrons, and nuclei. While the analytic techniques of quantum field theory have played a key role in understanding the dynamics of matter in high-energy processes, they encounter difficulties when applied to low-energy nuclear structure and reactions and dense systems. Expected increases in computational resources into the exascale during the next decade will provide the ability to determine a range of important strong interaction processes directly from QCD, with quantified uncertainties, using the numerical technique of Lattice QCD. This will complement the nuclear physics experimental program, and in partnership with new thrusts in nuclear many-body theory, these combined experimental and theoretical efforts will enable unprecedented understanding and refinement of nuclear forces and, more generally, visible matter. In this presentation, I will discuss the state-of-the-art Lattice QCD calculations of quantities of interest in nuclear physics, progress that is expected in the near future, and the anticipated impact. However, important finite-density systems, nonequilibrium systems, and inelastic processes, which typically experience exponential growth in required computational resources, are expected to remain a challenge for classical computation. There is now excitement in our community that the emergence of quantum computing during the exascale era may be of significant benefit in understanding these systems. I will outline the potential of quantum computing for QCD calculations.

Additional Information 

Refreshments will be served at 2:40.

Sponsoring Organization 

Physics Division


  • Building: 6008
  • Room: Large Conference Room (133)

Contact Information