The University of Chicago announced this week the formation of the first U.S.-based node of the Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique and Moléculaire (European Centre for Atomic and Molecular Computation, or CECAM), which will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and collaborations in frontier areas of computational science and technology.
UChicago will lead the CECAM-US-Central node, joining Midwestern partners Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Notre Dame.
Together they will pursue research in condensed matter physics and chemistry, hard and soft molecular modeling and simulation, computational science, as well as data science and artificial intelligence in the context of molecular design. They also will participate in workshops, exchanges, schools, training programs and external partnerships.
CECAM is a European network, based in Switzerland, which promotes fundamental research on advanced computational methods and their application to important problems in fields including biology, chemistry, engineering and physics, and beyond. To fulfill CECAM’s mission, 17 nodes of scientific activity operate across Europe and in Israel. CECAM-US-Central is now the 18th node and is the first based outside of the European research landscape.
CECAM has a long history of pioneering research in molecular modeling, quantum science and machine learning. The establishment of the new node reflects the Midwest as an international destination for this work. The node breaks down barriers between U.S. and European research institutions and presents new opportunities for bilateral cooperation between U.S. and European scientists in defining and pursuing impactful research in molecular modeling and materials engineering.
“As a leader in the future-facing field of molecular modeling and design, it is important for UChicago and its regional partners to build deep connections with experts around the world and lessen barriers to collaboration,” said Juan de Pablo, executive vice president for science, innovation, national laboratories and global initiatives at UChicago. “This new partnership with CECAM will allow us to work more closely with both regional and international partners and accelerate the rate of research across the board. It will also provide fantastic opportunities for our students to interact with thought leaders from around the world.”
CECAM-US-Central will build on its members’ established strengths in atomistic and molecular modeling, high-performance computing, and the development of mathematical methods and computational algorithms for research in physical, biological and engineering sciences. The effort will be led by the University of Chicago, and each partner institution will contribute unique resources and facilities across a range of disciplines. Some are already connected through multiple collaborative mechanisms, including the NIST-funded Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD), the Midwest Center for Computational Materials (MiCCoM) and the Catalyst Design for Decarbonization Center (CD4DC).