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Code for creation

Hands-on activities at the exhibit

  • Race against a supercomputer to solve a maze
  • Explore how fusion reactors of the future may be able to heal themselves from defects
  • Design a new material and ask Thomas the supercomputer to test it

Find out more

Supercomputing is advancing the development of new materials to tackle modern challenges.

The creation of brand new man-made materials will be vital as we address global challenges such as climate change, energy generation and water supply. At this exhibit you’ll see how supercomputers are driving the discovery and optimisation of materials of the future.

Our understanding of materials is crucial for technical advancement, but where do we start if we want to optimise a particular property? The potential compounds we could use are countless. Moreover, the complex interactions between their atomic building blocks imply that a material is much more than the sum of the atoms which make it up.

That’s where the new generation of supercomputers can help, and they are revolutionising the research and development of materials. Today, computational power enables us to predict the properties of a material from its atomic building blocks up, by applying the fundamental principles of physics, from the atomic scale all the way up to human size objects. We can then predict their behaviour over the billionth of a billionth of a second up to the several years.  

Supercomputers like ‘Thomas’ can simulate the properties of theoretical materials, guiding material scientists through the development of new useful materials.

Thomas is hosted by the Materials and Molecular Modelling Hub, a consortium of nine universities including Imperial College London.

Find out more about Code for creation, the Materials Design Group at Imperial College London, the Centre for Plasmonics and Metamaterials, the Mostofi group and the Lischner group

Presented by Imperial College London, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Theory and Simulation of Materials, and the Thomas Young Centre.