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The goal of this article is to give an overview of numerical problems encountered when determining the electronic structure of materials and the rich variety of techniques used to solve these problems. The paper is intended for a diverse scienti£c computing audience. For this reason, we assume the reader does not have an extensive background in the related physics. Our overview focuses on the nature of the numerical problems to be solved, their origin, and on the methods used to solve thedoi:10.1137/060651653 fatcat:wowbhjdezjeodlo3ovigwgbugu