Yanjie Fu receives NAE grant to develop AI technology to virtually model newly formulated materials

We are living in a material world.

In the face of an intense period of global evolution, including climate change, aging populations and an increased need to conserve resources such as food and water, the fate of the future may depend on the development of innovative materials.

Yanjie Fu, an associate professor of computer science in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, and his colleague, Alix Schmidt, a senior data scientist at Dow (NYSE: DOW), were recently awarded a Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering grant by the National Academy of Engineering, or NAE, to use artificial intelligence to help engineer new materials.

“Though we may rarely notice it, materials science has an enormous impact on our daily lives,” Schmidt says. “By the time I get to work in the morning, I have already interacted with hundreds of materials innovations. My daily sunscreen lotion doesn’t leave me feeling oily, my car doesn’t rust despite the salty Michigan winter roads and my phone forgives me for dropping it in the parking lot.”

The grant is designed to help the researchers increase the speed and decrease the cost of developing polymers or inorganic materials by tapping the power of artificial intelligence, or AI. New materials discovered by AI can be developed to have unique properties and have the potential to make airplanes safer, food storage better and military technology more affordable.

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