Purdue decade of investment in nanoelectronic modeling, predictive reliability and performance modeling

October 14, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's investment the past decade in its research infrastructure and faculty has helped the university develop unique software capabilities such as nanoelectronic modeling and predictive reliability and performance modeling.

That support has been essential for the success of center-level efforts such as the Network for Computational Nanotechnology; nanoHUB.org; the Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems; and other campus-wide interdisciplinary initiatives.

Those efforts also have fostered partnerships with industry, foundations, government agencies and other universities in the United States and across the globe. A look at the key projects:

Network for Computational Nanotechnology

Since 2002, Purdue has led the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) through a National Science Foundation-funded effort to advance nanoscience toward nanotechnology via online simulations on nanoHUB.org. The original $10.5 million grant over five years seeded the infrastructure creation and development of the nanoHUB content. Initially, Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, led NCN before handing the project off to professor Gerhard Klimeck. With the significant growth of nanoHUB, the NSF has invested more than $32 million in the project’s first 10 years and has adopted it as National Nanotechnology Infrastructure. Earlier this year, Purdue researchers received a five-year $14.5 million NSF grant to lead Cyber Platform, which can be renewed for another five years. A part of NCN, Cyber Platform also is designed to expand the widely used nanoHUB.org and assist researchers across the globe by developing a virtual society that shares simulation software, data and other innovative content to provide engineers and scientists with the fundamental knowledge required to advance nanoscience into nanotechnology.


Since its launch in 2002, nanoHUB.org has become a leading online science and engineering gateway, serving a community of 280,000 users in 172 countries, establishing itself as the world's largest nanotechnology user facility. The nanoHUB provides a library of 326 simulation tools, free from the limitations of running software locally, used in the scientific computing cloud by more than 13,000 people every year. The Internet-based initiative also offers 4,200 resources from more than 1,000 authors for research and education in the areas of nanoelectronics and nanoelectromechanical systems and their application to nano-biosystems. There are more than 80 complete nanotechnology courses on nanoHUB.org resembling a massively open online course set (MOOCs) with 100,000 users – but without the integrated testing. The remaining nanoHUB menu includes courses, tutorials, seminars, discussions and facilities to foster nano-research collaboration, including the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue's Discovery Park.


nanoHUB-U courses, taught by Purdue faculty members, are massive open online courses (MOOCs) accessible to students in any branch of science or engineering, many with global appeal. Supriyo Datta, the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, offered the inaugural course on fundamentals of nanoelectronics in January 2012. Others have been added since - a course on atomic force microscopy by mechanical engineering professor Arvind Raman and physics professor Ron Reifenberger; and the fundamentals of nanotransistors by Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Top-Ranking Campus Supercomputer

Purdue this spring unveiled Conte, the nation's fastest university-owned supercomputer developed in collaboration with HP, Intel and Mellanox. Conte is the highest-ranking campus supercomputer on the June 2013 Top500.org list of international supercomputers. Purdue's latest supercomputer surpasses the nation's previous fastest university-owned machine, Carter, which was built in 2011 and now ranks seventh on the Top500.org list. Conte was built with 580 HP ProLiant SL250 Generation 8 (Gen8) servers, each incorporating two Intel Xeon processors and two Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, integrated with Mellanox 56Gb/S FDR InfiniBand.

Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems

Purdue leads a $17 million effort, funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration, to develop advanced simulations for commercial and defense applications. The Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems (PRISM) focuses on the behavior and reliability of miniature switches. About 35 researchers, including faculty members, software professionals and students, are involved in PRISM, which is advancing the emerging field of "predictive science," or applying computational simulations to predict the behavior of complex systems. The goal is to develop advanced science and engineering models and software to predict the reliability and durability of "micro-electromechanical systems," or MEMS. 

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