Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Friday, May 26, 2017
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Georgia Tech Brings Big Data to Materials Design 

As part of the effort to reduce the time to bring advanced materials to market, Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded $2.8 million from the National Science Foundation to train new data scientists for the job.

The five-year program will give funding to 24 doctoral trainees while paving the way for students in the years ahead. Although the program’s emphasis lies on doctoral students, the program is meant to fortify the pipeline for workforce development, particularly where women and minority students are concerned.

Through the program, Georgia Tech will work with the federal Materials Genome Initiative to reduce the 15-20 years currently required for the design and manufacture of high performance materials for fuel efficient vehicles and 3D printing.

“The goal of this program is to employ advanced is ‘big data’ and information technology to significantly reduce the timelines now required for new materials to be created and incorporated into commercial products,” said Professor Richard Fujimoto, engineering chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Computational Science and principal investigator for the grant.

Fujimoto also leads the university’s Institute for Data and High Performance Computing, which will work with the Institute for Materials, Office of Information Technology and the Georgia Tech Research Institute as part of the collaborative effort.

“The program will be transformational in bringing ‘big data’ researchers together with materials scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to quantify the microstructures that comprise materials and develop new algorithms and software for their design.”

Called FLAMEL—From Learning, Analytics, and Materials to Entrepreneurship and Leadership—the program will focus on educating trainees to not only use analytics for materials innovations, but to then use them to deliver commercial products as well. According to Terry Blum, a FLAMEL co-investigator, efforts such as these will ultimately serve to boost U.S. competitiveness as the global marketplace evolves.

Making this possible is the university’s recent investment in MatIN, a cyberinfrastructure platform designed for materials development. Through it, Georgia Tech hopes to take a leading role in the emerging field of materials informatics, which uses data analytics alongside modeling and simulation to redefine the way that materials design and manufacture are approached.

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