Monday, September 7, 2009

Tech Solar House on Display

An innovative solar house that has been designed and constructed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon by a team of Virginia Tech faculty and students will be on exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Sept. 5-27.

Virginia Tech and the National Building Museum have a history of collaboration. Through tours of the house and public programming, the museum and Virginia Tech aim to educate the public about the importance of sustainable design within the built environment.

The Virginia Tech solar house, named LUMENHAUS, will be on display on the museum's west lawn at the intersection of 5th and F Street, in Northwest Washinton, while the team makes final improvements on the construction of the house.
In another development, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a three-year $1,421,725 grant to Jean Peccoud, associate professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, to develop GenoCAD - a web-based computer-assisted design environment for synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology, a rapidly emerging area of biological research, applies methods developed in engineering to design artificial biological systems that meet user-defined specifications. It has also been used to re-design natural systems to better understand the fundamental properties of living organisms. "We are considering DNA as a language to program living organisms instead of computers," said Peccoud. "This analogy has led us to apply methods and results from computer science to biology. In particular, rules describing how different functional elements should be combined can be described in the language grammar."

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