What is VLab?



The Virtual Laboratory for Earth and Planetary Materials, VLab, funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted by the Supercomputing Institute for Digital Simulations and Advanced Computation at the University of Minnesota, is an interdisciplinary consortium dedicated to the development and promotion of the theory of planetary materials. Computational determination of geophysically important materials properties at extreme conditions provides today, and maybe for a long time to come, the most accurate information to a) interprete seismic data in the context of likely geophysical processes and b) be used as input for more sophisticated and reliable modeling of planets. The laboratory aims to accelerate developments in this emergent area by:

  • Addressing materials physics and physical chemistry issues of importance to planetary sciences.
  • Developing and improving first principles simulations methodologies, integrating highly tested first principles software with utility programs, and creating novel human/software interfaces to facilitate and automate time-consuming human tasks.
  • Developing an educational program to provide training and bridge the gap between mineral physicists and materials theorists.


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