When liquids solidify, the interface between a crystal and its melt often forms branching structures (dendrites), just as frost spreads across a window. The development of a quantitative understanding of dendritic evolution continues to present a major theoretical and experimental challenge within the metallurgical community. This article looks at key parameters that describe the interface—excess free energy and mobility—and discusses how these important properties relate to our understanding of crystal growth and other interfacial phenomena such as wetting and spreading of droplets and nucleation of the solid phase from the melt. In particular, two new simulation methods have emerged for computing the interfacial free energy and its anisotropy:the cleaving technique and the capillary fluctuation method. These are presented, along with methods for extracting the kinetic coefficient and a comparison of the results to several theories of crystal growth rates.