Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

DoE, ONR Announce Materials Genome Solicitations

November 1st, 2011 / in policy, research horizons, resources / by Erwin Gianchandani

Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness, June 2011 [image courtesy The White House].Back in June, the Administration announced a $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) to stimulate the development of new technologies to spur high-tech manufacturing. A key focus was a $70 million commitment to research in next-generation robotics.

But there’s another component of the AMP that also warrants some of our attention: called the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), it’s a multi-agency effort “to double the speed with which we discover, develop, and manufacture new materials.” And as the Administration noted in June, the MGI seeks to “fund computational tools, software, new methods for material characterization, and the development of open standards and databases that will make the process of discovery and development of advanced materials faster, less expensive, and more predictable.”

According to a White House white paper describing the MGI:

Major advances in modeling and predicting materials behavior have led to a remarkable opportunity for the use of simulation software in solving materials challenges. New computational tools have the potential to accelerate materials development at all stages of the continuum. For example, software could guide the experimental discovery of new materials by screening a large set of compounds and isolating those with desired properties. Further downstream, virtual testing via computer-aided analysis could replace some of the expensive and time-consuming physical tests currently required for validation and certification of new materials…


The ultimate goal is to generate computational tools that enable real-world materials development, that optimize or minimize traditional experimental testing, and that predict materials performance under diverse product conditions…


Achieving these objectives will require a focus in three necessary areas: (1) creating accurate models of materials performance and validating model predictions from theories and empirical data; (2) implementing an open platform framework to ensure that all code is easily used and maintained by all those involved in materials innovation and deployment, from academia to industry; and (3) creating software that is modular and user-friendly in order to extend the benefits to broad user communities.

Since the June announcement, four new Federal programs have been rolled out in support of the MGI, at least two of which have direct links to computing:

U.S. Department of Energy's (DoE) Office of Science issues a solicitation for Scientific Computation Application Partnerships in Materials and Chemical Sciences [image courtesy DoE].The Department of Energy’s (DoE) Office of Science has issued a solicitation for research projects that utilize computing to address strategic issues in materials and chemical sciences:

[Funded projects] will focus on the development of new algorithms and computational approaches which could dramatically accelerate the discovery of new materials and processes as well as provide fundamental understanding of current materials and processes…


[Proposals must] provide specific plans for establishing partnerships with [one of three recently funded Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) Institutes] to systematically address the applied math and computer science challenges that are inherent to the scale of new architectures or common across applications.

Pre-applications are due December 9. The Office of Science expects to award up to $6 million in FY 2012. Click here for more details.

U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) issuing a Basic Research Challenge in Materials, with a focus on improving the prediction and optimization of materials computationally [image courtesy ONR].Separately, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is issuing a Basic Research Challenge (BRC) to integrate computational analysis with materials research “to improve the prediction and optimization of materials properties through new approaches to modeling material characteristics.” ONR expects to fund up to $7 million worth of projects over the next five years. More details should be available soon on the ONR website.

To learn more about the Materials Genome Initiative, click here.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)

DoE, ONR Announce Materials Genome Solicitations