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This article is from the In-Depth Report World Changing Ideas 2013
See Inside Scientific American Volume 309, Issue 6

Supercomputer-Driven Materials Design [Slide Show]

How scientists are using computing power to design new materials from scratch
Computer design



Gerbrand Ceder and Kristin Persson

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The job of a materials scientist—to warp matter into new and useful forms—has historically involved a ridiculous amount of guesswork. That’s because the quantum-mechanical equations that determine the properties of a material are so fiendishly difficult to compute. But the brute force of modern supercomputing is changing things. A scientist can now program a computer to screen tens of thousands of chemical compounds at a time, looking for those that have the properties she needs. This technique, called high-throughput computing, is revealing new chemical compounds never seen in nature. Here's a look.

>> View a slide show supercomputer-designed materials.

 

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