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nanoHUB.org surpasses a quarter-million annual users


Usage map: Over 255,000 people annually participate in nanoHUB.org as registered users or unregistered users who download resources or stay on nanoHUB for extended periods.

The community of nanoHUB.org users passed the quarter-million mark February 28, with over 255,000 people annually accessing the online science and engineering gateway for nanotechnology.

Researchers across multiple disciplines use nanoHUB to run high-powered, nano-related research simulations or deploy their own simulation software to collaborate or to reach out to others.

“The goal of nanoHUB is to enable more people to run simulations–not just geeks like me that are already doing simulation. It’s hard to install scientific software, in general, and find the necessary compute cycles. Using nanoHUB overcomes these burdens,” said Purdue University electrical and computer engineering professor Gerhard Klimeck, principal investigator of the Purdue-led cyber platform that operates nanoHUB.

Experimentalists, educators, and students find it easy to use nanoHUB because simulation tools run in the cloud, without the need to install any software. The user interfaces are designed to be easy to understand and do not require users to learn a new programming or configuration language. Of the 260 simulation tools accessible on nanoHUB, more than half have been adopted in systematic use in education, indicating that students can run these tools for homework or projects.

The nanoHUB cyber platform has become an online meeting place for simulation, research, collaboration, teaching, learning, and publishing. Launched in 2002 with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the nanoHUB cyber platform has grown an online community, reaching 100,000 annual users in 2009, and 200,000 annual users in 2011. The number of nanoHUB users includes those who register on nanoHUB and those who download nanoHUB resources or stay on the site for longer than 15 minutes without registering.

Klimeck and a team of Purdue researchers plan to expand the nanoHUB infrastructure over the next five years with the support of a new $14.5 million NSF award. By building on Purdue’s HUBzero® Platform for Scientific Collaboration and partnering with world leaders in publishing in the physical sciences, the Purdue team plans to change how researchers publish simulation results.

“We look forward to exploring collaboration options with nanoHUB in several areas, such as working toward defining processes for linking journal articles to computational and experimental data,” said Nicola Gulley, executive director of editorial for IOP Publishing.

Publishing and linking to simulation results will drive new content and users to nanoHUB. To date, nanoHUB provides more than 260 research simulation tools and 3,000 tutorials, courses, and other educational resources published by 1,000 authors worldwide.

Writer: Jennifer Crowell, communication specialist, Network for Computational Nanotechnology, 765-496-6541, jmcrowell@purdue.edu