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.