alphaMELTS Workshop Home

Please join us for a three day workshop introduction to alphaMELTS and other MELTS software, to be held December 11th - 14th, 2014, in Pasadena, CA, prior to the AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco, CA.

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Thermodynamic modeling with alphaMELTS and other MELTS software

This is the home page for the two to three day workshops being held at Caltech, and elsewhere; for the two day workshop being held at the Goldschmidt 2016 conference, please see the MELTS/traceDs workshop page.

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We are pleased to announce a three day workshop at Caltech on the use of alphaMELTS, and other MELTS software, for calculation of phase equilibria in igneous systems. We are also happy that Mark Ghiorso, chief developer and maintainer of the MELTS family of software programs and underlying models, will be joining us an instructor for part of the course.

The MELTS family of algorithms is widely used by petrologists and geochemists to predict the outcomes of melting and crystallization processes, to compare with experiments or to design experimental campaigns, to assess the energy budgets of igneous processes, to teach the principles of igneous petrology, and more. Here, at Caltech we develop and maintain alphaMELTS, a text-based front end to the MELTS, pMELTS, and pHMELTS models (with incorporation of rhyolite-MELTS in progress). This short course will introduce users to the underlying thermodynamics, illustrate the capabilities and potential applications of individual MELTS-type models and give participants first hand experience running MELTS programs and tools. We will focus on the alphaMELTS front-end at first but will also be demonstrating a variety of interfaces supported by Caltech and OFM-Research, from the well-established (e.g. the original MELTS graphical user interface) to the new and cutting edge (e.g. MELTS_Excel, libalphaMELTS).

Update! Additional workshops and other announcements

March 11th, 2015: We have well over one hundred people who have registered an interest in the workshops! The next workshop is the Rice workshop. That workshop is now officially full. If you register now then you will automatically be put on the waiting list; we will let you know if any space becomes available in the Rice workshop or if we are putting on other workshops in future. There is also a one day workshop, just before the Goldschmidt meeting (see the link to the right, or below if you are on a mobile device).

Latest updates include the following:

  • The second workshop in the series (see below) will be held at Caltech, February 25th - 28th, 2015, and will follow the same format as the December workshop; some applicants have been invited to attend this workshop if it seems to fit their schedule.
  • The December workshop was limited to 35 people, regardless of budget, as we believed that to be the maximum capacity of the room. As it was a little crowded, we are limiting the Spring workshop to 30 people. The Rice workshop (see below) does have several spaces but not funds to support additional participants.
  • We do have a budget and at the moment approximately twenty people are on the "waiting list" for one or more workshops because we do not have funds to support them. If you have independent funds for travel to the workshop, we encourage you to consider using them so that we can help a student, postdoc or young scientist with fewer resources to attend one of the workshops. Note that refreshments (and some meals) will be provided to all participants.
  • We have scheduled two small-scale local workshops: the first at the University of Maryland, near Washington DC, January 12th - 14th; the second at Rice University, Houston, TX, March 24th - 25th. Each workshop will have a total of two days of instruction (for UMD this will be one full day sandwiched between two half days) and involve two of the organisers (Asimow and Antoshechkina) but, given a small group of participants, we expect to be able to cover a similar amount of material to the Caltech workshops. Some applicants have been assigned to these local workshops if they are within commuting distance or if they are a little further but still much closer than Caltech.
  • For those on the "waiting list", you are welcome to attend the Spring workshop or one of the local workshops, if a space becomes available, but it would be at your own expense. All the NSF funds have been allocated. We will contact you if support becomes available, e.g. because a confirmed participant finds alternative funding. Otherwise, we expect to hold workshops at future Goldschmidt conferences, and perhaps even AGU meetings, and hope to see you at one of these. Or please contact us if you are interested in hosting a local workshop some time in the future.
  • You can still register if wish to join the waiting list or if you would like to attend one of the workshops without financial support from us. Just to reiterate: forum registration and workshop registration are not the same thing. Once you have registered for the forum, and logged in, you need to return to the Logistics & Registration page. You may need to reload or refresh to see the workshop registration link.
  • Just to clarify: after you submitted the form, we let you know that you had successfully registered (as in your information was received correctly) and sent you an edit link. This does not guarantee a space in a particular workshop. Whether you are registering for the first time or editing your entries, e.g. to add expenses for the December workshop, the please do not forget to press 'Submit'.

About the workshop

Title: Thermodynamic modeling with alphaMELTS and other MELTS software
Instructors: Paula Antoshechkina, Paul Asimow (Caltech), Mark Ghiorso (OFM-Research)
Dates: Wednesday 25th - Saturday 28th February, 2015, times TBA
Venue: Arms (building 25), Caltech, Pasadena, CA, USA
Room(s): 251 (some sessions may be held in room 267; details TBA)
Registration deadline: N/A (see udpate above)
Deadline for housing: February 10th, 2015
More details: see Logistics & Registration

In 2012, we were awarded a grant (EAR-1226270) by the Geoinformatics program within the Geosciences division of the U.S. National Science Foundation. This grant funded three years of continued development and user support for alphaMELTS, as well as two workshops. The workshops have several purposes. They are intended to introduce the software to users like you and to train you in how to start using the software, as well as best practices for advanced use. They are also intended to go beyond the online forum as an opportunity for us, the developers, to solicit feedback from course participants about their particular modeling needs for teaching and research, so that we can continue to optimize the software towards those needs. This is the first workshop in the series, although we have offered other long-form workshops for internal Caltech people only and shorter-form workshops at the Goldschmidt conferences in Montréal, Canada (2012) and Florence, Italy (2013). Participant support funds from NSF allow us to offer the course free of charge and with substantial to complete travel support for all attendees.

Who is eligible? Any user or prospective user of the alphaMELTS software for teaching or research. No previous knowledge of MELTS (in general, or alphaMELTS in particular) is required. Senior scientists, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students and master's students are the expected audience. However, engineers, those in private industry, undergraduates and others may apply. We will consider the interests needs, and backgrounds of all applicants based on their responses to the 'Workshop Interests' section of the registration form. We will try to include those who will gain the most from the workshop — see the tentative schedule below — but will also take into account the order in which people registered, the flexibility of their schedule, and so on. Participants may be of any nationality, and may be working in the United States or any other country.

Workshop programme

We intend to cover the following topics during the workshop:

The mornings will be mostly talks describing the models and software, with short demonstrations. The afternoon will give participants first hand experience using a variety of MELTS software interfaces. Examples from the morning sessions will be expanded on in the afternoons, and some special calculations will highlight features that are only available (or only convenient) on individual platforms.

We will have time for Q&A with individual workshop organizers to address participants' particular interests during the afternoons. There will also be an optional session on Sunday for more detailed discussions. Please feel free to bring examples that you would like us to look at. This could be a calculation that you have attempted that does seem to work or simply a composition (major elements in wt% or grams of oxides; trace elements, optional for alphaMELTS, in ppm) and conditions that you would see calculated.

The approximate schedule for the February workshop will be:

Workshop Materials

We will provide a thumb drive with a copy of VM alphaMELTS, which also includes the rhyolite-MELTS GUI, and sample input files. Some examples (such as MORB crystallization) will be provided for more than one front-end, so that you can see similarities and differences. Links to software front-ends that will be demonstrated at the workshop are available by clicking the Links tab above. If you decide to install the software in advance, you can test the installation using the appropriate 'Quick Start using MELTS' tutorial example; otherwise there will be plenty of opportunity to download and install the software of your choice during the workshop.

Workshop Organizers

Photo of Paula Antoshechkina

Paula Antoshechkina (née Smith) is an Associate Research Scientist at Caltech. She is responsible for most of the alphaMELTS front-end, forum and MAGMA website. At the moment she is focused on the xMELTS solid-solution calibration effort and development of an alphaMELTS library of functions that will allow users to access the MELTS family of models from their own programs and scripts.

Photo of Paul Asimow

Paul Asimow is Professor of Geology and Geochemistry at Caltech. He developed pHMELTS and many of the tools since incorporated into alphaMELTS. He has supervised a number of students and postdocs with MELTS-related projects, both to extend and improve the underlying thermodynamic models and to apply the software to real world magmatic processes. He is also involved in shock-wave experiments and theoretical calculations on silicate liquid and minerals.

Photo of Mark Ghiorso

Mark Ghiorso is the Vice-President of and Senior Research Associate at OFM Research. He is chief developer and maintainer of the MELTS family of software programs and underlying models. As well as xMELTS-related development, his current areas of work include modeling H2O-CO2 fluids, thermodynamics of hydrous silicic systems and visualization of equilibrium phase relations.

The workshop co-ordinator is Julie Lee.