Collaborating Authors


How machine learning is used in the building industry today


Last month aec tech invited industry-leading design technologists, data scientists, and machine learning (ML) experts to discuss the applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) today and towards the future. Machine learning is a branch of AI -- artificial intelligence -- that focuses on using data and algorithms to mimic human learning and improve its accuracy over time. Read below to learn more about our speakers and their work, in addition to a summary of the discussion. Leland Curtis is the former Co-Lead of Computational Design at SmithGroup. Leland implements Machine Learning into his design process through one application of ML called surrogate modeling.

Early-Phase Performance-Driven Design using Generative Models Artificial Intelligence

Current performance-driven building design methods are not widely adopted outside the research field for several reasons that make them difficult to integrate into a typical design process. In the early design phase, in particular, the time-intensity and the cognitive load associated with optimization and form parametrization are incompatible with design exploration, which requires quick iteration. This research introduces a novel method for performance-driven geometry generation that can afford interaction directly in the 3d modeling environment, eliminating the need for explicit parametrization, and is multiple orders faster than the equivalent form optimization. The method uses Machine Learning techniques to train a generative model offline. The generative model learns a distribution of optimal performing geometries and their simulation contexts based on a dataset that addresses the performance(s) of interest. By navigating the generative model's latent space, geometries with the desired characteristics can be quickly generated. A case study is presented, demonstrating the generation of a synthetic dataset and the use of a Variational Autoencoder (VAE) as a generative model for geometries with optimal solar gain. The results show that the VAE-generated geometries perform on average at least as well as the optimized ones, suggesting that the introduced method shows a feasible path towards more intuitive and interactive early-phase performance-driven design assistance.

Twenty-Five Years of Successful Application of Constraint Technologies at Siemens

AI Magazine

The development of problem solvers for configuration tasks is one of the most successful and mature application areas of artificial intelligence. The provision of tailored products, services, and systems requires efficient engineering and design processes where configurators play a crucial role. Because one of the core competencies of Siemens is to provide such highly engineered and customized systems, ranging from solutions for medium-sized and small businesses up to huge industrial plants, the efficient implementation and maintenance of configurators are important goals for the success of many departments. For more than 25 years the application of constraint-based methods has proven to be a key technology in order to realize configurators at Siemens. This article summarizes the main aspects and insights we have gained looking back over this period. In particular, we highlight the main technology factors regarding knowledge representation, reasoning, and integration which were important for our achievement. Finally we describe selected key application areas where the business success vitally depends on the high productivity of configuration processes.