UT Arlington computer and data scientist Junzhou Huang, an assistant professor at UTA’s Computer Science & Engineering Department, has been awarded a $250,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a scalable data-mining framework designed help manufacturers quickly discover desired materials for building their products.
Dr. Huang, who has expertise in the big data and statistical learning fields, will design scalable algorithms and a computational framework that can search unprecedented volumes of data detailing the complete set of genes present in numerous materials. The innovation may aid manufacturers in building better, longer-lasting cell phones, satellites or aircraft parts, he notes in a UTA release.
The project is part of the national Materials Genome Initiative, to discover, manufacture and deploy advanced materials faster, more cheaply, and more efficiently than current technology allows.
A critical, enabling element of the Advance Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), announced by President Barack Obama on June 24, the Materials Genome Initiative is a multi-stakeholder effort to develop an infrastructure to accelerate materials discovery and deployment.
The President’s FY12 budget includes $100 million to launch the Materials Genome Initiative, with funding for the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The initiative will support accelerated development of 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.
The vision and goals of the initiative are presented in the white paper, Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness, published by the National Science and Technology Council. Central to its efforts is collaboration of all contributors in the materials development community in up-front planning and execution; from experimental and theoretical scientists conducting basic research to industrial engineers qualifying new material products for markmarket andnning academic institutions, small businesses, large industrial enterprises, professional societies, and government.
“We need to be smarter, more efficient and more effective in discovering new materials to build whatever we want,” Dr. Huang observes. “What’s happened in the past is that designers have to simply try what they think might be the best material, but they don’t know for sure.”
Dr. Huang’s project is titled “Collaborative Research: Robust Materials Genome Data Mining Framework for Performance Prediction and Design Guidance of Nanoparticle Synthesis.” He is teaming with the Colorado School of Mines on the research, which is funded by a total NSF award of $500,000 over three years.
UT Arlington research assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering Feiping Nie is a co-principal investigator on the project.
Every material has a genome, but Dr. Huang explains that there have been computational challenges in determining which material is best suited for a particular device. Current systems for searching data needed for an analysis of materials can create a bottleneck for manufacturers because the data is voluminous and complex.
Advanced materials are essential to economic security and human well being, with applications in industries aimed at addressing challenges in clean energy, national security and human welfare, according to the Materials Genome Initiative website. Yet it can take 20 or more years to move a material after initial discovery to the market. The federal government has targeted more than $250 million for the initiative.
Khosrow Behbehani., dean of the College of Engineering, observes in the UTA release that Dr. Huang’s research exemplifies the University’s research contributions at the national level.
“The impact of Dr. Huang’s research could be important to every aspect of manufacturing,” Dr. Behbehani says. “It takes some of the guesswork out of the equation of deciding on what materials to use in building certain devices.”
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 38,000 students and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more.
University of Texas at Arlington
The Materials Genome Initiative
National Science and Technology Council
University of Texas at Arlington