Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Lev Gelb


This thesis is composed of two parts. The first is a study of evolutionary strategies for parametrization of empirical potentials, and their application in development of a charge-transfer potential for silica. An evolutionary strategy was meta-optimized for use in empirical potential parametrization, and a new charge-transfer empirical model was developed for use with isobaric-isothermal ensemble molecular dynamics simulations. The second is a study of thermodynamics and self-assembly in a particular class of athermal two-dimensional lattice models. The effects of shape on self-assembly and thermodynamics for polyominoes and tetrominoes were examined. Many interesting results were observed, including complex clustering, non-ideal mixing, and phase transitions. In both parts, computational efficiency and performance were important goals, and this was reflected in method and program development.


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