nanoHUB in a Nutshell: Delivering New Paradigms in Education and Research

By Gerhard Klimeck

Network for Computational Nanotechnology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Gordon Moore’s 1965 prediction of continued semiconductor device down-scaling and circuit up-scaling has become a self-fulfilling prophesy in the past 50 years. Open source code development and sharing of the process modeling software SUPREM and the circuit modeling software SPICE were two critical technologies that enabled the down-scaling of semiconductor devices and up-scaling of circuit complexity. SPICE was originally a teaching tool that transitioned into a research tool, was disseminated by an inspired engineering professor via tapes, and improved by users who provided constructive feedback to a multidisciplinary group of electrical engineers, physicist, and numerical analysts. Ultimately SPICE and SUPREM transitioned into all electronic design software packages that power today’s 300 billion dollar semiconductor industry.

Can we duplicate such multi-disciplinary software development starting from teaching and research in a small research group leading to true economic impact? What are technologies that might advance such a process? How can we deliver such software to a broad audience? How can we teach the next generation engineers and scientists on the latest research software? What are critical user requirements? What are critical developer requirements? What are the incentives for faculty members to share their competitive advantages? Can real research be conducted in such a web portal? How do we know early on if such an infrastructure is successful? Can one really transfer knowledge from computational science to other areas or research and into education? This presentation will bust some of the myths and perceptions of what is possible and impossible.

By serving a community of over 1.4 million users in the past 12 months with an ever-growing collection of over 5,000 resources, including over 500 simulation tools, has established itself as “the world’s largest nanotechnology user facility” [1]. All nanoHUB tools and compact models are now listed in the Web of Science and Google Scholar as proper publications. is driving significant knowledge transfer among researchers and speeding transfer from research to education, quantified with usage statistics, usage patterns, collaboration patterns, and citation data from the scientific literature. Over 35,000 students used nanoHUB simulation tools in over 1,800 classes at 185 institution. The adoption of research tools into classrooms is typically less than 6 months after publication on nanoHUB [2]. Over 2,000 nanoHUB citations in the literature resulting in over 30,000 secondary citations with h-index of 82 prove that high quality research by users outside of the pool of original tool developers can be enabled by nanoHUB processes. In addition to high-quality content, critical attributes of nanoHUB success are its open access, ease of use, utterly dependable operation, low-cost and rapid content adaptation and deployment, and open usage and assessment data. The open-source HUBzero software platform, built for nanoHUB and now powering many other hubs, is architected to deliver a user experience corresponding to these criteria.


Gerhard Klimeck is an Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at Purdue University and leads two research centers in Purdue's Discovery Park. He helped to create which now serves over 1.4 million users globally. Previously he worked with Texas Instruments and NASA/JPL/Caltech. His research interest is in computational nanoelectronics, high performance computing, and data analytics. He published over 490 printed scientific articles that resulted in an h-index of 58 in Google scholar. He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP), a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), and a Fellow of IEEE.

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  1. Quote by Mikhail Roco, Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology, National Science Foundation.
  2. Krishna Madhavan, Michael Zentner, Gerhard Klimeck, "Learning and research in the cloud", Nature Nanotechnology 8, 786–789 (2013)

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Gerhard Klimeck (2018), "nanoHUB in a Nutshell: Delivering New Paradigms in Education and Research,"

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MJIS 1001, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN