Nikhil Chopra is PI for NSF EAGER grant for networked 3D printers

ISR-affiliated Associate Professor Nikhil Chopra (ME) is the principal investigator for a two-year, $292K National Science Foundation EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) grant in cybermanufacturing, “Real-Time Scheduling in Networked 3D Printers.”

It is widely believed that the arrival of 3D printers in the 21st century will pave the way for the “Maker” revolution. This research will investigate fundamental theoretical and practical issues in the cloud-based utilization of an ensemble of heterogeneous networked 3D printers. The development of cloud-based scheduling algorithms is expected to be important for several cyber-manufacturing systems. Additionally, the theoretical and practical insights developed for the decentralized 3D printing-as-a-service paradigm may have a significant impact on the manufacturing ecosystem at large. Several students are expected to directly and indirectly benefit from the research and enhanced curriculum.

The research will focus on developing a fundamental understanding of optimal job assignment in networked 3D printers. Specific objectives of the work include data collection and analysis of heterogeneous 3D print jobs on an existing test bed at University of Maryland, design of optimal routing, batching, and scheduling algorithms to minimize job completion times by efficient decentralized resource utilization, and deployment of the algorithms on a virtual simulator and existing 3D printing infrastructure at the University of Maryland.

Published September 1, 2015