From atoms to computers

June 28 – July 2, 2021
Discovering scientific programming.

Summer camp for high school students

Materials are at the very heart of our society’s greatest challenges, from the production and storage of clean energy to water purification, or from safe and sustainable management of transport to environmental protection. Computer simulations reveal the behavior of matter at the atomic scale and are therefore increasingly used in the development of better materials in order to meet such challenges.

This Summer School offers the opportunity to spend one week at EPFL discovering scientific programming and modelling of materials. The participants will follow courses, take part in practical exercises, and enjoy visits of EPFL labs and installations on campus.

Starting from the basics, they will learn about cutting-edge simulation techniques, including molecular dynamics, cellular automata and machine learning. Scientists will guide them in the execution of simple projects related to modelling of materials.

Simulation de la croissance d'un cristal de glace
Simulation of the growth of a frost crystal. Frost on the window of a plane.


Practical information

Where and when
June 28 – July 2, 2021 at EPFL (Lausanne) – subject to favorable developments in the health situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic
High school students one year before graduating

Half of the places are reserved for girls
No prerequisites related to specific option or mathematics level. Prior basic knowledge in programming is recommended. These basics can be acquired independently if necessary (further information below)
Computer provided by EPFL
CHF 50.- without accommodation, CHF 150.- (4 nights) or CHF 175.- (5 nights) with accommodation at the youth hostel if desired

The registration fee should not be an obstacle, so please do not hesitate to contact us
There are still a few spots available for girls. Register as soon as possible with this form.
Please contact [email protected] for any question

Background knowledge

The following basic knowledge in programming is recommended for participation in the camp: variables and assignments, basic operations (arithmetic, logical and comparison), loops and conditions. Interested high school students can acquire this knowledge on their own in just a few hours (half a day) by taking part 1 (Faites connaissance avec Python) and 2 (Posez les fondations de votre programme) of the course Démarrez votre projet avec Python (in French).

The camp is sponsored by NCCR MARVEL, where researchers design and discover new materials through quantum simulations. In other words, they resolve fundamental equations in physics by using supercomputers before even doing anything in a lab.

The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Logo Pole National de Recherche MARVEL

In addition: