Yinghui Wu Named as Co-Director on $14.2 million federal grant to launch innovative materials data science Center of Excellence

Case Western Reserve University has received a $14.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to launch a “Center of Excellence” focused on applying innovative approaches to enhancing manufacturing of materials with greater strength and longer lifecycles.

The center, which will include collaborators from national science laboratories and the University of Central Florida (UCF), will couple its research efforts with expansive education and mentoring programs for students at minority-serving institutions and high schools.

Roger French, the Kyocera Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering will lead the center. Co-directors are Laura Bruckman, associate professor of materials science and engineering; and Yinghui Wu, the Theodore L. and Dana J. Schroeder Associate Professor of Computer and Data Sciences.

Collaborators include Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Kansas City National Security Complex.

The center will tackle the “fundamentally interdisciplinary and data-intensive challenge of preventing degradation of materials in the nation’s nuclear stockpile”, said French, who is also director of the SDLE Research Center at Case Western Reserve. That center also focuses on degradation science and designing better, longer-lasting materials and systems.

The new center’s staff includes: a managing director; diversity, equity and inclusion director; 11 faculty members; five postdoctoral scholars; 16 graduate students; and more than 20 undergraduate students at CWRU with an additional two graduate students at UCF.

The new center will leverage CWRU’s expansive, multi-disciplinary expertise in high performance computing, data-knowledge modeling and materials aging and reliability to transform large volumes of data, Wu said.

“We will exploit advanced knowledge science, AI and machine-learning technologies to innovate on the conventional understanding and paradigms of how data resources can be harnessed to improve existing and future materials research,” Wu said.

The center will also engage students through community programming and partner with minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and high schools.

The new NNSA Center of Excellence at Case Western Reserve represents another significant step in the ongoing collaboration between the university and NNSA partners, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Last month, President Kaler and Livermore Director Kim Budil aimed at increasing opportunities for research collaboration.

“This center represents a concerted effort on the part of our university and our research collaborators,” French said. “We are grateful to partners at the national labs and the University of Central Florida, as well as our proposal partner KB Science.” (A proposal partner is an organization that helps institutions secure grants, particularly for federal funding.)