Autodesk University 2015 Grab Bag Wrap-Up Part 3: Pie In The Sky

You’ve made it! Once you get through this, you’ll be 3/4 of the way through my epic write-up of what I took away form AU this year!

Pie In The Sky

AU is first and foremost a technology conference, so the nerd level is pretty high. And I love it.

Auto Generated wall

Auto Generative Design

This skeleton of a wall is the internal structure for a wall in a new Airbus jet. And this thing was a rockstar. They wheeled it out on the floor during the opening session, it had a prominent spot on the showroom floor. The first thing you might think is “that looks like a poorly put together Erector set.” The second thing you might think is that no person designed this thing. And, the cool thing is, you’d be right.

It came from Auto Generative Design. The basic idea is, you give the computer a set of parameters and priorities, and thanks to the miracle of infinite computing, the computer has the power to run through dozens upon dozens of iterations of design, laying out and testing each one. You ask the computer for a handful of designs and it comes back with what it thinks are the best.

About to dial the nerd level up here. Hold onto your hats.

You give the design software parameters of size and weight and structural needs, and the computer runs through hundreds of iterations of designs, runs simulations on them, evaluates your criteria, and then comes back with however many options you ask for. Then you pick the one you want. This was what the computer came up with for an upcoming Airbus design, and since you know how this story ends, you won’t be surprised to hear that it is lighter and stronger than one designed traditionally.

While this is obviously not even aimed for the AEC industry, Autodesk knows the interest is there, and it’s just a matter of time. Can you imagine laying out your spaces for SD, then telling the computer to give you the five best options for structural design by the next morning, or having your volumes figured out and then asking your machine to give you the most optimal HVAC configuration? You can’t today, but it is very easy to see a future AU to be highlighting that level of design instead of a single airplane wall.

The week after AU, Autodesk officially launched a website dedicated to auto generative design in the AEC industry. It’s all very skunkworks stuff, but it’s up, and there is a lot of interest.

How’s your mind? A little blown? I hope so. Thinking about this is terribly cool. But tomorrow in my final wrap-up post, we bring it all back down to earth for something you can use immediately.


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