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The Boston Globe

Business

Can an idea from MIT save US manufacturing?

There are tens of thousands of known compounds in the physical world. Finding the right combination to create a new material, say a super-tough or ultra-light metal, can take years, if not decades, of hit-and-miss experimentation.

Now, a project rooted at MIT aims to cut this time dramatically, and in doing so, accelerate the invention, development, and production of new goods and technologies. The effort is building a massive database of compounds and their properties, aiming to do for manufacturing what the Human Genome Project is doing for the biopharmaceutical industry — providing the data, tools, and understanding that will lead to breakthrough products.

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