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Research Highlight | Transportation and Power Systems

ActivO software named finalist for the 2023 R&D 100 Awards

The AI algorithm reduces design cycles/costs and time-to-market for advanced products.

Transportation and Power Systems Senior Research Scientist Pinaki Pal and former Argonne post-doctoral appointee Opeoluwa Owoyele, were named finalists as part of the 2023 R&D 100 Awards. The awards are colloquially referred to as the Oscars of Innovation” and represent a wide range of cutting-edge research and engineering that could impact people and communities. This is the second R&D 100 recognition for Pal and Owoyele; they, along with other Argonne team members, were named winners of a 2021 R&D 100 Award.

Pal and Owoyele’s technology, ActivO, is an innovative software technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory that provides a unique turnkey solution using machine learning (ML) to speed up product design optimization and massively accelerate virtual prototyping across a wide range of industries. ActivO accelerates the design process using a one-of-its-kind combination of advanced ensemble ML-driven predictive surrogate models trained on simulation data; adaptive sampling of the design space via active learning for on-the-fly refinements of the ML surrogate models; and efficient algorithms for controlling the relative degree of local (exploitation) versus global (exploration) search of the design space during optimization — all within an automated, modular and scalable workflow.

ActivO can be readily coupled with any simulation tool, and efficiently runs on high performance computing clusters/supercomputers and cloud-based platforms, owing to its highly parallelizable and portable framework. These features allow for easy adoption by engineers in industry, even those who do not have extensive ML expertise.

This animation shows ActivO’s approach for a 2D test problem. It shows the strong learner representation (left), the weak learner representation (center), and the improvements to the design objective (right). (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)


ActivO was developed under a Technology Commercialization Fund project funded by the Decarbonization of Off-road, Rail, Marine and Aviation program of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office.

Learn more about ActivO and Argonne’s other 2023 R&D 100 Awards.