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Spring 2016
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Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

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Database Buster

Engineers building a framework to help manufacturers search for the best materials 

Database Buster Illustration

When manufacturing a device like a cellphone or satellite, it all comes down to picking the right materials. But searching through the huge amount of available data is difficult and time-consuming.

To help speed up the process, Junzhou Huang, a computer science and engineering assistant professor, is developing a tool that lets manufacturers efficiently sift through data about the genetic structures of materials.

"What's happened in the past is that designers have had to simply try what they think might be the best materials, but don't know for sure," says Dr. Huang. "We need to be smarter, more efficient, and more effective in discovering new materials to build whatever we want."

Every material has a genome, but computational challenges exist when determining which material is best for a certain device. The data the systems must search to figure that out is too complicated and too vast to do so with any consistency.

That's where Huang's new framework would come in.

Aided by a $250,000 National Science Foundation grant, he and Feiping Nie, a research assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, are designing scalable algorithms and a computational framework that can sort through data that details the complete sets of genes present in various materials. By understanding the genetic makeup of materials, manufacturers can then find the ideal foundations for their creations.

The project is part of the national Materials Genome Initiative, which focuses on discovering, manufacturing, and deploying advanced materials faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than present-day technology can.

Illustration by Jon Krause

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