About 4 years ago I was so frustrated with the empiricism of materials I posted my pipe dream about an alloy calculator:"Just put in the composition and out comes that material properties." I received an Email from someone approving of my "sense of humor." Materials will drive people to such desperation they will click on anything.
A couple of years later some Japanese actually came up with an equation or program or something that could predict properties of some alloys based on composition. This needs to be encouraged.
Some computer billionire needs to fund an annual award to anyone who can help clean up this awful mess with a few good broad sweeping generalizations that would make life easier for designers. The payback would be much more effective than medical research. After all, it was some materials guy who invented the chip.
A lot of engineers really wonder how something as critical as materials "science" -- actually just a menagerie of completely unrelated facts -- has managed to retain its dark ages backwards wichcraft voodoo encyclopedic nature late into the info age.
I have no conflicts of interest with this suggestion. I can guarantee I'm not going to be on any short or long list.