2021 Virtual Capstone Conference

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PICUP Capstone Conference:

What has been accomplished, and what does the future hold?

In the last four years, several hundred people have joined the PICUP community, united by the common goal of using computation to improve our physics courses and curricula. In this conference, PICUPers will share what we have accomplished, and we will discuss how to move forward into the future. If you have attended a half-day, full-day, or week-long PICUP workshop, please join us!


Conference Information

Dates:  August 11-13, 2021 

Location:  This will be an online conference. Links will be sent out to registered participants.

About: This conference will consist of a mix of workshops, contributed presentations, panels, invited talks, and plenaries, as shown in the Schedule-at-a-Glance.

Photos of plenary speakers

Who should register: Everyone who has attended any type of PICUP workshop, from half-day workshops to full week FDWs.


  • Early-bird rate (until July 1): $20
  • Regular rate (deadline Aug. 6, or full): $25

Refund/cancellation policy: If you need to cancel your registration, a full refund of your registration fee will be provided until July 1, 2021.

Presentations: If you will be attending the PICUP Virtual Capstone Conference, we encourage you to consider giving a presentation about how you have integrated computation! The "contributed talks" sessions are a great time to share what you have done and learn from what others have done. For more information and to submit an abstract, click the “Abstract Submission” button above.


Plenary #1: 

Brian O'Shea, "The future of computational and data science"

Physics as a discipline has been on the leading edge of computational and data science since these fields were conceived.  The evolution of computational science as a means of scientific exploration, as well as the emergence of data science as a field in its own right, has occurred very rapidly over the past decade. This trend is virtually guaranteed to continue through the 2020s.  I will focus on the recent past and on the future of these fields, using case studies taken from recent scientific advances.  In addition, I will make some suggestions on what these trends mean in terms of the training that STEM students will need to be successful in the future.

Plenary #2:

Courtney Lannert, "Integrating computational physics into your curriculum using the EP3 guide" 

The EP3 Project (EP3guide.org) seeks to help strengthen and improve physics departments and programs nationwide by building on research and community knowledge and practice. The guide offers advice on a wide variety of topics, from Departmental Culture and Climate to Introductory Courses for STEM Majors, designed to be flexible, not prescriptive, and useful in the wide variety of local contexts experienced by physics programs in the US (and perhaps beyond). After a brief overview of the guide and its use, I will describe the development process for the section on Computational Skills as well as its recommendations and a sample of the ways in which it might be used by a physics department to integrate these important skills into their curriculum.


During registration you will be asked to select a workshop for Thursday morning and a workshop for Friday morning. We will do our best to accommodate people into their selected workshops.

  • Introductory Physics: Planning a Coherent Course and Choosing the Right Tools
  • Integrating Computation and Experiment
  • Department-Wide Computational Integration
  • Lessons from Computer Science Pedagogy
  • Computational Integration into Astronomy and Astrophysics Classes
  • The Computational Physics Course: Objectives, Design, and Assessment
  • Preparing and Submitting an Exercise Set, and Becoming a Reviewer
  • Upper-Division Physics: Planning a Coherent Course and Choosing the Right Tools

A full description of the workshops is found here.


Questions/Need Help?

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please click here.