The innovation engine for new materials

Workshop on Opportunities in Theoretical and Computational Polymeric Materials and Soft Matter

Date & Venue: Sunday, October 20th to Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 at the Loma Pelona Center, UC Santa Barbara

*For travel and lodging instructions, please see below.

Organizing committee:
Robijn Bruinsma (UCLA)
Glenn Fredrickson (UCSB; PI)
Gary Grest (Sandia)
Andrea Liu (UPenn)
Monica Overa de la Cruz (Northwestern; co-chair)
Michael Rubinstein (UNC; co-chair)

Polymeric and soft materials are distinguished from traditional hard materials by the multiplicity of time and length scales involved in processes governing their behavior, and by their degree of disorder (mostly-defects-with-a-few-crystals as opposed to mostly-crystalline-with-a-few-defects). Modeling realistic polymeric and soft matter systems requires coverage of time intervals from nanoseconds to seconds or minutes. Even with modern supercomputers, such dynamic range can only be achieved by performing multi-scale modeling that couples atomistic molecular simulations with coarse-grained or field-based simulations in a self-consistent manner. Advances in theory, modeling, computation, and data-mining are beginning to offer a foundation for the rational design of soft matter and polymers, and their assemblies at nanometer to macroscopic scales. However, many challenges remain in interfacing disparate methods appropriate at different scales and in managing the massive data sets arising from tandem use of multi-scale simulations and high-throughput experimentation, including the establishment of standards for data collection, data mining and analysis, and storage.

Workshop Goals: 

  1. Identify the major theoretical and computational challenges relating to the first-principles design of broad classes of soft materials and polymers;
  2. Identify the missing tools/methods necessary to address these challenges and the steps required to develop the methods;
  3. Construct a vision for how theory, computation, and experiment can interact synergistically to discover new materials; and
  4. Elaborate the theoretical advances and cyber infrastructure needed to enable more effective synergistic interaction.

The workshop will seek collective answers to a set of questions that frame the goals outlined above. These answers will be organized and compiled into a report that should assist researchers and funding agencies in setting priorities in theoretical and computational soft matter disciplines.

Click here to register for the workshop.

Click here to fill out the questionnaire for the workshop.

Schedule and titles of talks:

Final agenda

List of participants and topics:

Session assignments

Travel and map:
The best way to get to Santa Barbara/Goleta is to fly (airport code SBA). The airport is within a few minutes of the UCSB campus.

Alternately, UCSB is about 100 miles from LAX, and there are road shuttle services such as the SB Airbus (take it to the last stop, Goleta) or door-to-door shuttle services such as the one run by Road Runner.

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner connects Goleta to LA, Irvine, and San Diego, but be advised that the Goleta stop does not have a cab stand, and you would need to call one.

If traveling by car, please look for the Highway 217 (Santa Barbara) exit on the 101 North, or the Los Carneros exit (Goleta) on the 101 South. For your navigation system, try: 552 University Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93106. Please arrange parking permits with Naomi Recania no later than Friday, October 11. You will then receive your parking permit at the hotel when you check in. If you do not receive your permit, please call Naomi on her mobile at 323.533.4027. Park at structure 22, indicated on the map near E1. Loma Pelona and P22 are only a few hundred yards apart.

For maps, please look at these JPG or PDF files. Parking structure 22 and Loma Pelona are enlosed in red boxes near E1 and F2 at the bottom left.

Rooms must be booked individually and paid for by participants. All participants from out of town will be staying at the Best Western Plus South Coast Inn. Please call (805) 967-3200 and reserve your room before September 25th. The rooms will be released after this date. Three nights, checking in Saturday 19th October and checking out Tuesday 22nd October are being held. If required, the night of Tuesday 22nd October can also be booked. While booking, please mention "NSF Workshop" and arrange to pay on your own (you will be reimbursed after the workshop). Transport from the Best Western to the Workshop site will be organized. The Best Western arranges pick-ups and drops from the SBA airport (free call from the airport) and to the Goleta SB Airbus station. The hotel shuttle can also transport you to campus.

Food in downtown Santa Barbara:
Do look at the Santa Barbara Restaurant Guide and at Ram's Lower State Street Restaurant Guide.

Please search Santa Barbara weather. Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Santa Barbara in October are between 54 F and 71 F. Average precipitation for the month is 0.9 in. Evenings require warm clothing (at least for residents).

The workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation.

NSF Logo

Infrastructural support from the University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory, an NSF MRSEC, is acknowledged.



Naomi Recania
Materials Research Laboratory
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5121
Phone: (805) 893-5112
Email: naomi [at] mrl [dot] ucsb [dot] edu