The Material Data Management Consortium (MDMC) held its 15th meeting, hosted by Raytheon in Tucson, AZ, during January. The US Army Research Labs were welcomed as the latest participant, swelling the membership to eighteen leading aerospace, defense, and energy enterprises.
The MDMC guides development of the GRANTA MI software system, which helps to capture, control, analyze, and apply critical materials data in the engineering process.
MDMC development process
As the MDMC matures, with more members, and an increasing number of members supporting growing user communities, so the formal process by which members help to guide GRANTA MI development is being refined. A major focus of this meeting was on ensuring clarity of this process, with members reviewing recent software developments, commenting on detailed development plans and progress for the next major software release (GRANTA MI 4.0) and prioritizing major projects for the release after next (GRANTA MI 5.0). The process ensures a rolling, on-going program of improvement, tailored to the developing needs of the industry, with a long-term commitment to driving this program from both Granta and the members.
Priorities for future releases are agreed via "use case" presentations based on suggestions from earlier meetings. These are developed by Granta Design and any member with a particular interest in the subject, and place requested features in the context of real use case scenarios, making it easier to understand their value and likely implementation, and to select priorities.
Technical focus on usability
This focus on practical value carried through into the technical focus of the meeting, with much attention being paid to software improvements that help to increase the usability of the system - particularly for users who are not materials experts. Members shared practical ideas - for example, on user interface design, or the workflow of key data analysis and management tasks - that will ease access to key data and tools for this widening user community of engineers and designers. These ideas were fed into future development plans.
New functionality - tabular data
There was also a chance to review developments based on input at previous meetings, now implemented in version 3.1 of GRANTA MI. These include advanced features for handling tabular data - for example, in importing such data, and in display of summary tables that update automatically when records in a materials property database are modified.