September 14, 2010

Hi VMDL-ers...

I know it's been a while since I've talked about VMDL (remember: Virtual Molecular Dynamics Laboratory)?

But we are starting up development again!!!

We started by getting versions to run on current machines. Including Macs!! Water now runs on a Mac, FINALLY! And Windows 7.

There are lots of little bugs and legacy things that make the programs look a little old (like small screens) and a stupid system for storing labs and movies and, well if I go on you won't download... basically, we have LOTS of content, but it is poorly communicated.

We are going to do some development over the next 6 months or so and, hopefully, some of you will use this in your classes in the meantime and can write something with us that we can use for a few papers. I've been working the past few years on outreach and marketing of things totally unrelated to this and have gotten much better at it. Plus, over the past few years with my daughters in school, I have gone into schools to teach often from K-12 and have a blast.

So I want to bring my experience to VMDL and make it as good and powerful as I know it can be.

VMDL has a lot going for it over other programs out there. The particle interactions are REAL! These are all real, honest, research-grade simulations. The electronic measurements we can take of the systems are enormous and tell a lot. And Water has some really cool 3D graphics.

What's going to happen is that SMD, Universal, and Water are all going to be integrated into one program. There will be one single program interface. Instead of the text guides being on paper, there will be much simpler instructions for software and separate "for more info" documents. When you go to an activity on the web, all you will do is click "Run" and it opens the correct data file and you just follow instructions on the help screen.

You will have the ability to switch between 2-D and 3-D views, change zoom and camera positions just like in Water currently (but better).

And all the really interesting simulations you can do will all be at your fingertips and more accessible. There will be a control interface that will allow you to build custom simulations. And things like DNA unzipping, protein folding, first or second order reactions, burning/combustion, osmosis, lipids, soaps, brownian motion, alloys, nucleation, solvation, crystals, Archimede's Principle, sound waves, viscosity, catalysis, REDOX reactions, heat capacity, enthalpy, heat and work, and more will all be beautiful.

If you want to be part of the new VMDL, check out what's up there now, by going to:

Write me what you think. Use it in your classes. Tell me which machines it crashes on. I'll keep you in the loop. Write me if you are now using something different that you think is better as I want to learn all I can (my feelings won't get hurt).

Any thoughts, suggestions, whatever, send them my way so they can be considered in the new products. And of course send me any funding ideas... all this will cost money and I have to find it.

Thanks so much.

Hope your lives are all going well.

Best wishes,


Paul Trunfio
Sr. Research Scientist and
Director, Education Programs
Center for Polymer Studies
Department of Physics
Science and Mathematics Education Center
Boston University

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For more information, email: Paul Trunfio