The only known way to calculate quark-gluon bound states and dynamics is by numerical evaluation on a discrete space-time lattice of large dimension. This technique was originally developed by particle physicists and is now being applied widely to problems in both particle and nuclear physics. One challenging problem of particular interest in nuclear physics is the behavior of bulk matter at the very high temperatures characteristic of RHIC collisions.
Such lattice-QCD calculations pose an extraordinarily demanding computational physics problem. In recent years these demands have lead to constructing a series of the fastest civilian computers in the world, with theoretical physicists playing a key role. In addition, physicists have pioneered a number of algorithmic developments to obtain great improvements in the accuracy of the calculations. Progress has been impressive, but a great deal more needs to be, and will be, accomplished in the coming decades.
Progress in nuclear physics is intimately linked to the continuous development of sophisticated and high performance instrumentation, especially particle accelerators, particle detectors, and data acquisition and computer systems. This development entails a broad range of modern technologies.
The design, construction, and operation of the sophisticated devices used in nuclear research involve students at all stages. This direct participation enables the students to acquire the skills, experience, and vision to develop the next generation of instrumentation for use in nuclear science and applied research, and for industrial applications. Although they are motivated by basic research, accelerators and detector techniques used by nuclear scientists have a broad range of applications outside of nuclear physics, especially in medicine and materials science.
The education of young scientists, engineers and technicians is essential for the technological advancement of this instrumentation, for the progressive evolution of the field, and for meeting society's technological needs.