Birck Nanotechnology Center

Science on Tap to feature talk about learning tool of nanoHUB

June 6, 2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University researcher instrumental in developing and advancing software for one of the first cloud computer networks for computational nanotechnology research will give the next Science on Tap talk.

Gerhard Klimeck, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and the director of nanoHUB.org, will speak at 6 p.m. June 13 as part of the Science on Tap informal lecture series. The event, which is free and open to those 21 and older, is in the upstairs of the Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette.

His talk, titled "Mythbusting Scientific Knowledge Transfer with nanoHUB.org," is sponsored by the Purdue School of Computer and Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering and Discovery Park.

"Can we enable small research groups to have global impact on teaching and research with freely accessible software? How can we teach the next generation of engineers and scientists on the latest research software? Can one really transfer knowledge from computational science to other areas or research and into education?" Klimeck said. "This presentation will bust some of the myths and perceptions of what is possible and impossible."

Klimeck said the 1965 prediction by legendary researcher and Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore of continued semiconductor device down-scaling and circuit up-scaling - known as Moore's Law - has become a self-fulfilling prophesy in the past 40 years.

Open-source code development and sharing of the process modeling software SUPREM and the circuit modeling software SPICE were two critical technologies that were instrumental in developing semiconductor devices and circuit complexity.

SPICE was originally a teaching tool that transitioned into the research laboratory, was disseminated by an inspired engineering professor via videotapes, and improved by users who provided constructive feedback to a multidisciplinary group of electrical engineers, physicists and numerical analysts, Klimeck said.

"Ultimately SPICE and SUPREM transitioned into all electronic design software packages that power today's $280 billion semiconductor industry," he said. "The foundational question is now if we can duplicate and accelerate such global impact for a large and diverse set of research groups." 

The nanoHUB.org, in the past 12 months alone, has served a community of 257,000 users with an ever-growing collection of 3,400 resources, including more than 270 simulation tools, establishing itself as "the world's largest nanotechnology user facility," Klimeck said.

More than 1,030 nanoHUB citations in the literature resulting in a secondary citation h-index of 48 prove that high-quality research by users outside of the pool of original tool developers can be enabled by nanoHUB processes, he said.

"In addition to high-quality content, critical attributes of nanoHUB success are its open access, ease of use, utterly dependable operation, low-cost and rapid content adaptation and deployment, and open usage and assessment data," Klimeck said. "The open-source HUBzero software platform, built for nanoHUB and now powering many other hubs, is architected to deliver a user experience corresponding to these criteria."

Klimeck, who received his doctorate degree in quantum transport from Purdue in 1994 and an electrical engineering degree in 1990 from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. Before coming to Purdue, he was a principal scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He also was a member of the technical staff at the Central Research Lab of Texas Instruments where he served as manager and principal architect of the Nanoelectronic Modeling (NEMO 1-D) program.

With National Science Foundation funding, Purdue launched the Network for Computational Nanotechnology in 2002 with a five-year, $10.5 million grant to advance nanoscience toward nanotechnology via online simulations on nanoHUB.org. The NSF funding was distributed among six partner universities to seed the infrastructure creation and develop the nanoHUB content.

Today, NSF is funding Purdue for the operation and advancement of this national nanotechnology infrastructure. Two other independent NSF grants, each at a level of $3.5 million to Purdue and the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, will advance nanoelectronic and nano-bioengineering while using nanoHUB to engage a global community. The resulting NCN is now funded at a level of $21.9 million for five years.

Science on Tap, led by Purdue graduate students Patrick Dolan and Becca Scott, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations that are designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the monthly event has averaged 80 during the program's first two years.  

Writer: Writer: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Gerhard Klimeck, 765-494-9212, gekco@purdue.edu

Patrick Dolan, 765-496-9336, pdolan@purdue.edu

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