BRL-CAD currently stores shader information (settings controlling the visual appearance of a geometric object during raytracing) in attributes associated with each individual geometric object. This means it is cumbersome to set up large numbers of individual objects with the same shader settings and then make a uniform change to all of their settings.
Similarly, information on material density (used by tools such as rtweight) is currently stored only in text files not associated directly with the .g database at all or within a binary object in the .g representing the contents of the text file (for gqa).
This task would be to design and implement first class "objects" in the .g database format to hold material information and shader information. So just as there is a sphere type and cone type, the database will have shader types and material types. Students interested in this topic should study BRL-CAD's shaders and other shader systems to get an idea of what sort of information should be represented and how to store it. Discussion with developers about work done to date would also be a good idea.