Newsletter 15

Platform-News - 20.12.2023


Dear colleagues in the MaterialDigital community,

Our year 2023 was full of collaborative achievements and progress as well as inspiring events, which we owe above all to the great commitment of the MaterialDigital projects and the platform's employees. We are grateful for this motivating exchange with everyone involved, which brings us closer to the initiative's common goals.

In this year's last newsletter, we would like to give you an insight into current developments, news and a glimpse of what's to come next year. We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and wish you a successful end to the year and relaxing holidays.

Latest announcements

General Assembly 2024 | Save the date

First things first: We are pleased to announce the date of the next MaterialDigital General Assembly:

18-19 September 2024, in Berlin at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM).

We look forward to your contributions and participation next year. More details will follow.

MSE 2024 | Call for Abstracts

One week after the General Assembly, from 24 to 26 September, the MSE will take place in Darmstadt.

Members of the MaterialDigital initiative together with representatives of DGM and NFDI-MatWerk will organise Topic D: Digital Transformation. The Topic D symposia are ideal for presenting the current research and project work of the MaterialDigital community. So don't forget to submit your abstract by 31 January 2024! Papers can be presented as oral or poster presentations.

The Topic and Symposium organisers encourage young researchers to contribute to the symposia.

Insights into PMD | Focus areas

The focus areas of the MaterialDigital platform look back on 2023 with satisfaction. Once again, we have seen that the opportunity to participate in our working groups has been well used and that we have been able to work together with you on the goals of the initiative. In the following we would like to draw your attention to recent successes, topics and activities.

Community Interaction

We used the joint discussions at this year's General Assembly as an impulse to revise the MaterialDigital project pages. From now on, contact details for each project are listed and different types of publications are possible. The website now offers a comprehensive overview of the results of the projects, from demonstrators and presentations to publications in journals, including links to the projects' own websites and repositories.

We'll continue to keep you up to date on relevant events, so feel free to take a look at our website.


In the focus area "Workflows", an intensive weekly exchange on fundamental concepts of workflow design, developments in the MaterialDigital projects and links to (inter)national workflow activities continues. One result of the General Assembly was the introduction of a Q&A session in the meetings, in order to create a low entry barrier for new projects and colleagues. The team can also report on two highlights of the last few months:

Workshop on "Digitalisation and Workflows"

The focus area was significantly involved in a workshop on "Digitalisation and Workflows" from 29.10.-03.11.2023 as part of the ADIS workshop series. The workshop contributions addressed the fact that any design strategy for chemically complex materials requires multidisciplinary approaches. For this, a wide range of methods and algorithms must be implemented and evaluated to enable data mining, machine learning and the identification of structure-composition-property relationships. The workflow requirements for this were not only discussed in lectures and poster sessions, but also in four hackathons lasting several days on the following topics:

  • Workflow concepts for IDEs,
  • Development of interatomic ML potentials,
  • Autmatised generation of phase diagrams,
  • Large-Language Models.

Collaborations were established that will continue to produce interesting results, even beyond the workshop.

Hackathon in the focus area of "Workflows", 6-8 December 2023

From the 6th to the 8th of December 2023 a hackathon took place at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) in Berlin with 15 participants from the PMD core team and the MaterialDigital projects. The hackathon focused on documenting the PMD Workflow Store in order to make it more attractive for MaterialDigital projects. The team developed a comprehensive documentation for uploading workflow solutions to this store, which will be made available to the MaterialDigital community. Best practice examples for the use of pyiron and SimStack have also been developed. Other activities included collaboration with the projects and preparation of an overview article.

Semantic Interoperability

Hackathon in the focus area of "Semantic Interoperability", 14-16 November 2023

From 14 to 16 November 2023, a hackathon in the context of the focus area "Semantic Interoperability" took place at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) in Berlin. 17 experts from the PMD core team and the MaterialDigital projects participated. The focus was on the further development of the PMD core ontology (PMDco).

The event was characterised by general discussions in plenary sessions and by working on specific challenges in smaller working groups. The focus was on the following topics:

  • Scope of the PMDco
  • Curation process (Developer modus/manual)
  • Guide on how to use the PMDco (User modus/manual)
  • PMDco Class Corpus

The following results were achieved during the hackathon:

Revision of the PMD core ontology (PMDco): Version 2.0.7 of the PMDco will be updated and transitioned to version 3.0. The new version will utilize the BFO2020 as its top-level ontology. The PMDco 3.0 is designed to be modular, meaning it comprises various individual modules that can function independently. Together, these modules constitute the PMDco 3.0.

Stability of the current PMDco version: Version 2.0.7 of PMDco will remain in its current form and will continue to be available on the MaterialDigital GitHub page. This version will be maintained as a stable ontology to ensure functionality and compatibility with previously developed ontologies, demonstrators and documentation.

Development of guides: Guides for developing ontologies related to the PMDco and for using the PMDco are currently being developed. These guides are intended to assist developers and users.

Revision of the curation process: The curation process will be revised to ensure that it meets current requirements and standards. Corresponding documentation will also be provided.

All developed information, modules and guides will be made available and linked to the GitHub repository as usual to ensure transparent and accessible development.

Proactive participation is encouraged in all activities, especially by joining our open Ontology Playground! It is a great opportunity to contribute to the creation of the ontology and to learn about the development of ontologies.

Architecture & IT Infrastructure

As a result of the General Assembly in September, the working group's meeting schedule has been changed. From now on, the working group will be open to all participants of the MaterialDigital projects for discussions once a month. The aim is to establish a format for sharing approaches to infrastructure solutions that arise from the specific frameworks of the projects. This is in recognition of the fact that setting up a PMD server in one's own institute or company always presents different challenges. These can now be discussed in the architecture group and solutions can be found together.

An important technical development in this focus area has been the deployment of a discovery service to make the various application ontologies of the MaterialDigital projects simultaneously searchable. This development was an important milestone and will be described in more detail in the next newsletter.

Current publications in the MaterialDigital initiative

On our website and on the individual project subpages you will find current publications from the initiative. Take a look at the latest publication of the project DiProMag: Insights from an OTTR-centric Ontology Engineering Methodology.

Special Issue Advanced Engineering Materials AEM 2024

We are delighted by the positive response to the idea of a special issue on the work of the initiative in the journal "Advanced Engineering Materials". We are happy about the collaboration of a large number of projects on the special issue and with the common approach. A foreword by Peter Gumbsch, spokesperson of the platform, and an introductory article with the working title "A Unified Data Space Concept - Insights from the MaterialDigital initiative" will provide a framework for the approximately 20 contributions.

We support

Jung-DGM An active and mutual exchange between established researchers and young talents is necessary to successfully advance digitalisation in materials science and engineering. We would therefore like to draw your attention to the Jung-DGM. We thank the Jung-DGM for organising this year's Advent calendar! There are still a few doors to open...

QI-Digital We support the activities and work behind QI-Digital an initiative of the central stakeholders of the German quality infrastructure (QI). The initiative is mainly supported by DIN, DKE, DAkkS, PTB and BAM. The QI-Digital initiative is supporting the design of a modern QI for the digital and green transformation of the economy. After successfully organising various events to connect stakeholders, the date for the QI-Digital Forum 2024 has now been set. Save the date for the 9th and 10th of October 2024.

Past events

Kupfer Symposium 2023

From the 29th to the 30th of November, the Kupfer Symposium 2023 took place in Jena. Over 130 guests from the copper community learned about the latest research on copper materials and engaged in dialogue with colleagues. The MaterialDigital project KupferDigital, supported by representatives of the MaterialDigital platform, was, of course, also part of the event.

Thank you for your interest in our newsletter! You can look forward to more news and future events, so make sure you stay in touch with us.

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The PMD team wishes you a wonderful holiday season. Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2024!

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together! (African proverb)

The PMD team