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Created: June 25, 2003.
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OASIS Members Form Materials Markup Language Technical Committee.

OASIS has announced the formation of a new Materials Markup Language Technical Committee. The published goal of the MML TC is to "enhance the e-business needs of materials producers, designers, fabricators, quality assurance, and failure analysis specialists by developing an XML-based standard markup language for the exchange of all types of materials technical information. In the context of this application, 'materials' includes, but is not necessarily limited to, all materials of construction, including metals, plastics, ceramics, and composites, and all of the elemental components of these materials. The breadth of technical information includes but is not necessarily limited to: compositions, mechanical properties, physical properties, performance characteristics, and micrographic information, all in tabular, graphical, or photographic formats." The MML TC activity will include an evaluation of the existing MatML materials markup language developed at NIST and published as a Version 3.0 Schema specification in March 2003. The developers of MatML intend to contribute this technical work to the new MML TC. The OASIS TC Chair is Brett Johanson (Boeing); the first meeting of the TC will be held as telconference on September 17, 2003.

From the TC Announcement and Call for Participation

Liaisons will be established with groups maintaining other pre-existing XML-based markup languages for interfacing technologies, such as femML, chemML, and MathML, and also with the ISO/STEP committees handling materials information exchange.

The principal deliverable will be the schema for an XML-based markup language meeting the above requirements, with suitable illustrations of its application, by December 31, 2004.

Persons listed as supporting the TC proposal include:

Development of MatML

The OASIS MML TC Call for Participation notes that one of the TC's activities will be an "evaluation of MatML (, a materials markup language developed at NIST. MatML is "XML for materials property data -- a simple, flexible, Extensible Markup Language for the exchange of materials property data on the World Wide Web." Information supplied here is intended to assist the reader in understanding the history of this earlier 'MatML' design work.

"MatML (Materials Markup Language) is an XML language developed especially for the interchange of materials information. It addresses the problems of interpretation and interoperability for materials property data exchanged via the World Wide Web... The descriptive nature of the MatML tags, such as <Name>, <Class>, and <Subclass> is plainly evident, permitting the language to be far more intelligible than non-descriptive fixed tagsets such as HTML. At the same time, MatML defines a coherent and consistent document structure for its tags, which ensures that any programming language can be used to parse and process the data in whatever manner required... The MatML Version 3.0 Schema contains the formal specification for the materials markup language and represents the efforts to date of a cross section of the international materials community with contributions from private industry, government laboratories, universities, standards organizations, and professional societies..." [adapted from the Overview]

From the 'Conclusion' in the MatML Version 3.0 specification: "At present, the materials data 'marketplace' [materials suppliers, materials databases, materials societies, materials websites, modeling software, finite element codes, etc.] can be very chaotic and difficult for both providers and consumers. Until the arrival of MatML, there was no common exchange format but instead hundreds of proprietary formats that resulted in wasteful duplication of effort and poor scale-up. Also plaguing the materials data community is the absence of software interoperability, whereby one computer program, such as a finite element code, can automatically input material properties from another computer program or database without the necessity of human intervention. The present situation overall yields very inefficient data processing... MatML will serve the materials data marketplace as a common, public domain materials data exchange format -- a non-proprietary and generic language for materials property data. With considerable built-in flexibility and extensibility as attributes of the language, MatML will provide for direct program-to-program interoperability, efficient data processing, and rapid, reliable, and useful response to searches for materials data over the Web. Its widespread adoption will provide for powerful and malleable connection of the various materials data sources found on the Web today, as well as those to be added to the Web tomorrow..."

The MatML Website at is hosted by Automation Creations, Inc. (ACI), and operates under the authority of the MatML Coordination Committee. This MatML Coordination Committee "replaces the NIST-sponsored MatML Steering Committee that operated from November, 2001" through May, 2003.

The Website hosts a number of current and historical resources pertinent to the existing MatML specification, including the MatML Schema Version 3.0 which was announced March 17, 2003. According to the June 5-6 minutes, a MatML Schema Development Working Group is chaired by Doug Fleming (MatWeb). Its (draft) mission is to continue the development of and maintain the MatML materials markup language, including, but not necessarily limited to: (1) Obtaining feedback from commercial application evaluations and implementation trials of MatML; (2) Define specific improvements (revisions and expansions) needed in the MatML schema; (3) Modify the primary MatML schema to meet defined needs; (4) Update the public website schema to reflect agreed upon revisions and advances; and (5) Carry forward the standardization of MatML via OASIS. The WG's members [June 2003] included: Doug Fleming (MatWeb, Chair), Laura Bartolo (Kent State), Chris Hammond (GE), Debbie Mies (MSC Software), Chris Nunez (Centor), and Craig Seymour (Granta Design).

A draft mission statement for the new MatML Coordination Committee was distributed for comment at the June meeting; see the summary minutes of the MatML Coordination Committee, June 5-6, 2003. According to this draft, "The mission of the MatML Coordination Committee is to provide a mechanism for communication, guidance, and collaboration among interested parties for the commercial evaluation and implementation, including specifically:

  • Continuing the development of MatML
  • More completely evaluating MatML, identifying opportunities for improvement and broadening, and defining how it can make a difference in commercial data exchange
  • Increasing potential user awareness of MatML technology, and promoting its use
  • Identifying and implementing commercial applications of MatML
  • Developing a strategic plan for the implementation of MatML and for identifying and establishing a permanent home for MatML technology

Members of the MatML Coordination Committee [June 1, 2003] included Laura M. Bartolo (Kent State University), Fran Cverna (ASM International), Doug Fleming (Automation Creations, Inc), Christopher Hammond (General Electric Company), Brett M. Johanson (Boeing Phantom Works), J.G. (Gil) Kaufman (Kaufman Associates), Debbie Mies (MSC Software), Mike Kmetz (IDES, Inc), Michael Mitchell (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center), Chris Nunez (Centor Software Corporation), James D. Rossi (Westmoreland Testing & Research, Inc), Craig Seymour (Granta Design Limited), Carlos R. Beauchamp (NIST), Kent A. Reed (NIST), and Ed Begley (NIST, Ex-Officio).

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