With the vision of being the premier collaborative U.S. university activity in computational materials design, the Center for Computational Materials Design (CCMD) is now a reality. Collaboration between the university participants and the Center's members from industry and government laboratories, facilitated by an award as a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, will accelerate the transfer of research results into applied technology. Reflecting on the start-up of the Center and its promise, Professor Zi-Kui Liu notes "Computational modeling and simulation are becoming key technologies to support materials research and development in both academia and industry. The establishment of the CCMD enhances the infrastructure of computational materials research in the nation, explores and extends the interface between engineering systems design, information technology and physics-based simulations, and integrates materials research as part of component and device design. Furthermore, through industrial and governmental participations, the CCMD will improve the intellectual capacity of the workforce, conduct high quality research projects relevant to the economic growth, and develop curriculum in computational and systems design aspects of materials. The complementary expertise at Penn State and Georgia Tech provides an ideal environment to work on this exciting and challenging endeavor."
The CCMD will receive guidance from a Member Advisory Board initially consisting of 13 organizations representing large and small business, including suppliers and end users, as well as DOE and DOD laboratories. Based on needs identified by the CCMD members, faculty from Penn State and Georgia Tech will carry out projects proposed to address these needs, often involving an interdisciplinary group including not only materials science and engineering faculty and graduate students, but also engineering systems design faculty, computer scientists and applied mathematicians. Prof. David McDowell of Georgia Tech, TMS member and Co-Director of the CCMD, views the interactions not only between Penn State and Georgia Tech, but also between disciplines as a key enabler for the Center's progress. He notes "The CCMD offers a unique opportunity to conduct both short and long term research supporting innovative materials design capabilities at the intersection of industry relevance and scientific forefront, bringing together essential elements of databases, information technology, decision theory, and first principles to continuum modeling of process-structure-property-performance relationships."
The Center participants are certainly not new to the area of computational materials design. The Penn State group has developed the MatCASE suite of multi-scale modeling tools and databases through an NSF Information Technology Research project involving Ford and NIST. Georgia Tech has focused on the integration of heterogeneous, multiscale material models into systems-based robust design of materials, including the development of a virtual design studio concept. This concept will be applied in the CCMD to allow the MatCASE materials modeling components to be integrated along with a suite of decision-based robust design tools, configured differently for each materials design problem.
A key mission of the Center is to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers with a broad, industrially-relevant perspective on engineering research and practice, preparing them to contribute in the emerging field of materials design. In this regard, the member organizations will realize benefits not only directly from the results of the research projects but also indirectly from the availability of trained prospective employees, who will be well suited to implement computational materials design tools in practice.
The Center for Computational Materials Design, while on its way, is quite interested in considering additional members. More information can be obtained directly from Center Director Z.-K. Liu via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or Co-Director D.L. McDowell at email@example.com.