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Innovation Infrastructure: Data and ment, data quality, and data usability. such as density functional theory. Standards”—to help define the “cross- To provide a framework for the discus- Finding the mathematics that transi- cutting and domain-specific data chal- sion, participants considered the four tions between them is something like lenges” that need to be overcome. areas in the context of two broad top- finding a clutch that can shift between The workshop convened 125 stake- ics: length scale challenges and techni- first gear and fourth gear. holders from academia, federal agen- cal applications. Also, it does not take long to peg cies, national labs, industry and profes- Length scale challenges fall into two the computing power, according to sional societies. Most, although not all, categories: challenges relating to the Warren. Say, for example, you want to participants came from United States mathematics of the scale and crossing model one millimeter of a solidification organizations. In November, the agency scale regimes, and challenges relating interface. By modeling conditions every released its summary report (http:// to the computing power needed to per- 10 angstroms normal to and along the nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/ir/2012/NIST. form the calculations. interface, the computation very quickly IR.7898.pdf) summarizing the outcome For example, phase field methods are generates terabytes of data. of the exercise to evaluate the status of used to model microstructure develop- The workshop participants divided the Materials Innovation Infrastructure ment in the nanometer to micrometer length scales into several regimes: (MII) and identify gaps and opportuni- range. However, microstructure devel- macro, micro, nano and molecular ties. It also outlines the process the opment arguably can be modeled also at lengths, and atomic lengths. Within group used to attack the issue. the crystal lattice scale with approaches each of these, challenges were pri- Lead author of the report and NIST scientist Jim Warren explained in a phone interview that the MII is “about For solutions made from scratch, lowering the barrier to entry for manufac- He says some disciplines are way ahead Just add Harper. turers” to accelerate materials innovation. on developing a data infrastructure, for example, with regard to data sharing and quality, computer codes, metrics, etc. “We want to harvest the best practices and use them where it makes sense for materials science,” he says. Warren likens the coalescence of the MII to the birth and growth of the Internet “superhighway.” He says, “We are all willing to pay a small cost for access to the Internet, which makes our life better. The MII imagines something similar for materials data.” Another way the MII compares to an established infrastructure model is the C U S T O M R O T A R Y F U R N A C E S US roads and highways system. Some roads are owned at the federal level, some at the state or local level, and yet other roads are private. Envision the emerging MII as having a similar mix of owners, access points, etc. At the workshop, the participants were charged with assessing data infra- justaddharper.com structure in four areas: data representa- tion and interoperability, data manage- See us at ICACC’13 Expo Booth 326 12435 Solutions Sq ad_Acers.indd 1 9/10/12 1:13 PM American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 92, No. 1 | www.ceramics.org 5


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