MSE Professor Surya Kalidindi has a dream – to build an emergent materials informatics community at GT as a national model. Working towards this goal, he thought that a series of hackathon type of events (now referred to as data challenges) might be beneficial for building a strong materials informatics community around existing pools of material science, manufacturing science, and data science researchers. It could not only involve Georgia Tech, he thought, but other institutions and organizations as well. The most recent event was held April 9 and was sponsored by the Institute for Materials and FLAMEL Traineeship Program.
The idea dovetailed with another of Kalidindi’s priorities, which was building from the ground up a new cyber-ecosystem for materials innovation —IDEAS:MD3.
IDEAS:MD3 is designed to promote and conduct research, development, and testing in materials data science and informatics that will lead to new and improved methods to accelerate materials design, development, and deployment (MD3) and to disseminate information and knowledge regarding these capabilities through research projects, conferences, workshops and publications. Emphasis is placed on workforce development in materials data science and informatics, and integration within the materials innovation ecosystem.
“We are looking at a three-prong collaboration to prepare for this century’s materials for manufacture — academia, industry and national laboratories,” said Kalidindi. “There is a niche there that we have the unique expertise to fill. We have the awareness of the tools and methods, the ability to integrate data science with computational modeling (high throughput) and managing and tailoring workflows, among other strengths.”
“We see these events as taking our abilities beyond the abstract, the pure idea and into the real world, where we solve challenges and find opportunities that others may not see. We believe this is just the beginning.”
Showcasing capabilities to potential industry partners is a key goal where the emphasis is placed on the value of working with Georgia Tech to prepare the 21st century workforce for accelerated materials design, development and deployment. This includes a vast array of areas including e-collaboration platforms and closer linkage of OEMs and their supply chains to R&D in data science and informatics via data-driven decision support and identifying and organizing important electronic metadata in materials development.
Additionally, building on previous and ongoing fruitful collaboration between GT and ASM International, materials informatics-focused data challenges would be a good opportunity for both GT and ASM to market their expertise and resources. This data challenge revolved around SMDDP – one of ASM’s materials open databases.
Problem formulation and documentation was led by Kalidindi and Professor David L. McDowell, as well as Jud Ready, Brooke Beckert, Andrew Medford, Soumya Mohan and Aleksandr Blekh.
Judges were Larry Berardinis and Afina Lupulescu (ASM) and Beverly Wright (Business Analytics Center at GT Sheller College of Business). Mentors included Andrew Medford, Dipen Patel, Ali Khosravani, Noah Paulson, Fred Hohman, Alicia Rossi and Tony Fast.
The event self-organized into the following teams The Iron Dragons (Axel-Jose Munoz, Christine Palmer and David Freiberg: Drexel University); JAM (Jenna Kwon, Almambet Iskakov, Marie Dekou: Georgia Tech); and The Yellow Jackets (David Montes, Andrew Castillo, Xinyi Gong: Georgia Tech)
Grand Prize Winner for the challenge was The Iron Dragons. Special Mention categories and winners included:
- Accuracy of the solution and use of material science domain knowledge: The Iron Dragons
- Comprehensiveness of the solution, creativity of the idea and economical aspect: JAM
- Teamwork, presentation quality and use of big data: Yellow Jackets
“This event was a true community-building experience, which has sparked many discussions amongst teams, mentors, industry, professional society people alike,” said Blekh, a research scientist with ME and one of two lead organizers of the challenge. “Such events have a significant potential of higher success in context of community building, if streamlined, scaled and expanded to include more people from various universities and organizations.”
Mohan, a ME Postdoctoral Fellow and organizer, added, “We hope events such as this challenge can foster more discussion in regard to the materials informatics field among the students, faculty and industry experts.”