Materials have historically been developed by trial and error in research and development laboratories. This process has largely occurred in isolation from product design and manufacturing. Factoring in the need to certify materials for service and ensuring scale-up production, it has typically taken longer for new materials to impact the marketplace. Moreover, new discoveries of potential materials are often lost, revisited or rediscovered due to inefficiencies in archiving and retrieving prior research results.
In view of the explosive growth of data storage, computational modeling and simulation, modern data sciences, and informatics, it is increasingly possible to envision a future where materials researchers, computational modeling teams, materials suppliers, product designers, and manufacturers work more closely and exchange information to reduce the time for materials development and insertion into products. Digital data is the 'currency' that fuels materials research and development collaborations.
The Georgia Tech Institute for Materials is supporting an exploratory internal effort to link materials research team and add value by enhancing distributed access to experimental and computational data, including social networking and communications of distributed collaborative teams Moreover, workflows of collaborative efforts can be tracked. This platform, MATIN, is being developed in alignment with the philosophy of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative (MGI).