The 12th Triennial Congress of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC 2020) will be held August 16-21, 2020 in Vancouver. The event will mark the latest stage in the growth and development of this active group since it was founded as the World Association of Theoretical Organic Chemists in 1982.

First held in Budapest in 1987, WATOC congresses are the most prestigious and successful international meetings in computational and theoretical chemistry. That initial gathering, which was organized by Imre Csizmadia of the University of Toronto, drew some 475 participants. By 2017, when the last congress was held in Munich, there were more than three times as many people present.

WATOC2020 is being hosted by the University of British Columbia, with the Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Division of Physical, Theoretical and Computational Chemistry as a partner organization. Representatives from more than 60 countries will make up the technical program, which features 12 plenary lectures, 252 invited lectures, 180 oral presentations, and 3 evening poster sessions. The plenary speakers will include two Dalhousie University chemists: Axel Becke, FCIC, who won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering in 2015, and Erin Johnson, MCIC, who won the WATOC Dirac Medal in 2018.

WATOC2020’s six-day program will feature a broad range of topics in method development and applications to chemistry, biochemistry, materials and nanoscience.  The content will go beyond the traditional focus of computational and theoretical chemistry with presentations on big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and other contemporary topics. 

As in the case of previous congresses, the program will be of interest to both computational specialists and to experimentalists who use computational methods to assist with the interpretation of their results.  Representatives of many major software packages will participate in WATOC 2020 and will be available to address questions from the users of their products.