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Artificial Intelligence: Speeding the Discovery of New Materials

By Dick Weisinger

Artificial Intelligence is being applied to a variety of fields, sometimes with amazing results. For example, scientists have begun to use AI in the area of materials science in order to help discover new materials.

Researchers at Sandia estimate that AI has sped the process of developing new materials by a factor of 40,000.

David Montes de Oca Zapiain, a computational materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, said that “we’re shortening the design cycle. The design of components grossly outpaces the design of the materials you need to build them. We want to change that. Once you design a component, we’d like to be able to design a compatible material for that component without needing to wait for years, as it happens with the current process.”

Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, said that “[AI] is really enabling unprecedented levels of speed and automation at scale, helping us solve ever more complex problems. And it is AI that can help us usher in this new era of accelerated discovery. It can help us supercharge the scientific method to turn it from a linear process into a closed loop. The process will culminate with having new knowledge that invokes a new question and the loop starts again. So this would be a continuous loop of discovery, increasingly automated and increasingly autonomous.”

Gil said that “I am certain that tomorrow’s most innovative businesses will be discovery driven enterprises. They will seek the platforms, tools and technologies that will allow them to accelerate the discovery process that gives them their competitive advantage.”

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