Materials research is currently undergoing a revolution driven by the generation and integration of vast amounts of data through experimental and computational means (see figure on right). This development has great potential to dramatically advance the creation of predictive methodologies coupling theory, computation and experimentation for the design of new materials. At the same time, it is important that a focus on data does not degrade the “thought-based” approach to Science where enlightened thinking, informed by experiment and computations, leads to simple models that capture the essence of physical phenomena.
This figure shows the number of citations per year of articles making use of data-driven approaches in materials research. The increasing numbers of citations over time indicate both the increasing number of publications in this area and the increasing interest in the subject. This figure serves as the basis for the “Rise of Data” logo. Source: ISI Web of Science.

The materials research community must grapple with the data revolution to determine how to best take advantage of it while avoiding the pitfalls. There are many questions. Some deal with technical issues, such as best practices for the storage, handling, manipulation, and sharing of vast datasets. Others deal with more fundamental aspects of our discipline, such as whether and how the education of materials researchers must change, how the contribution of young researchers to data infrastructures can be recognized, and how new knowledge can be extracted from data. Answers to these questions will inform our own field moving forward and provide a roadmap to funding agencies in determining how to make best use of limited resources. These issues for the basis of themes explored by this project.

This website along with a series of workshops are designed to engage the materials research community in this discussion. The workshop series began at a 2-day NSF Workshop held on the campus of the University of Maryland (UMD) during June 29-30, 2015. A follow-up Town Hall Meeting will take place at the TMS Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN on February 17, 2016. Registration is now open!

The “Rise of Data” project is led by

in close collaboration with the twelve co-leaders of the project themes:

Theme 1 — Materials Cyberinfrastructures Theme 4 — Knowledge from Data
Theme 2 — Enabling Infrastructure Creation Theme 5 — Education of Materials Researchers
Theme 3 — Data Management and Handling Theme 6 — Grassroots Standards and Government Support

A more detailed discussion of the “Rise of Data” themes along with a reading list on each topic with links to online content follow in the Themes section.