Administration Announces New Materials Genome Commitments

May 14th, 2012 by Erwin Gianchandani Post a comment »

Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) [image courtesy manufacturing.gov].Nearly a year ago, the Obama Administration announced a $500 million Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) to stimulate the development of new technologies to spur high-tech manufacturing. A key focus for the computing research community was a $70 million commitment to research in next-generation robotics.

But as we’ve noted previously, another important aspect of the AMP for computer science was the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), a multi-agency effort “to double the speed with which we discover, develop, and manufacture new materials.” At its core, the MGI sought 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.”

Today, as part of a daylong workshop attended by 170+ leaders from the public and private sectors, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has announced several new commitments to further advance the MGI.

Among them, according to an OSTP fact sheet accompanying the announcement (following the link):

  • A $17.3 million investment from the Department of Defense (DoD) to extend basic research, including support through the Office of Naval Research to  integrate analysis with materials research to improve the prediction and optimization of materials properties through new approaches to modeling material characteristics; and an upcoming Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) award for a university center of excellence focused on developing the fundamental science of computational and experimental methods common to all structural materials; and
  • A series of workshops sponsored by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) to identify and develop (1) standards and tools for the representation and interoperability of materials data, whether from simulation or experiment, (2) techniques and standards for the interoperation of modeling systems operating at multiple length and time scales and techniques, and (3) tools for the quality assessment of models, simulations, and the materials data generated from them.
In addition, several government labs are making available supercomputing power to the MGI effort:
  • Oak Ridge, Argonne and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs have formed a Joint Materials Genome Institute (JMGI) to develop new computational methods to predict the properties of materials, from catalysts and photovoltaics to lightweight structural materials;
  • The Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and private sector — building new crossdisciplinary teams with increased access to Argonne’s cutting-edge scientific tools, including Mira, a new 10-petaflop supercomputer; and

To learn more, check out today’s announcement by OSTP, as well as the accompanying fact sheet. And see our previous coverage of the MGI here, here, and here.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)