(Guest post by Chuck Ward, Editor of Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation.)
In an effort to acquire new materials knowledge from existing sources, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation have teamed to sponsor the Materials Science and Engineering Data Challenge, an initiative to tackle materials science and engineering challenges through the analysis of publicly-accessible digital data.
The Materials Data Challenge was developed to advance the goals of the Materials Genome Initiative, a plan introduced by the White House in 2011 to guide the nation’s efforts in cutting time and costs in bringing new materials and manufacturing products to market.
The Challenge is an “outside of the box” approach to materials research. Instead of taking the traditional approach of relying on new experiments and simulations, challenge participants are asked to scour existing data sources and apply advanced analysis techniques to arrive at new advances in materials science and engineering knowledge.
The benefits of this novel approach are many and this challenge hopes to boost good data stewardship practices within the scientific community. With readily-accessible data, materials researchers can save costs associated with redundant testing, have benchmark data that can serve as a baseline for modeling and simulation, and take advantage of tools developed elsewhere within the research community to gain new insights not possible through human inspection.
Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation has recognized the value of making important research data available to the community and has established a new type of article called a Data Descriptor. Data Descriptor articles are standalone records of scientific work that present a detailed account of the methodology used to collect experimental or simulation data, a thorough description of the resulting data, and a brief discussion of the anticipated value of the data if accurately modeled, analyzed, or used in some other fashion.
Springer has joined a number of other entities that have stepped up to aid the MSE Data Challenge by opening its SpringerMaterials database for contestants and providing lifetime access to the winners of the Challenge (http://www.springer.com/gp/marketing/materials-science-and-engineering-data-challenge-trail-sign-up).
To take part in the challenge, interested participants are asked to submit a written research report in a format suitable for a peer-reviewed scientific publication. Multiple winners will be awarded, with the top awardee to receive $25,000.
The Challenge is open through March 31, 1016. Interested parties can visit https://www.challenge.gov and search “Materials Science and Engineering Data Challenge” for more information and submission form.