Swarm intelligence 2008 spring sci-arc
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This seminar will examine the role of agency within generative design processes. The course will engage algorithmic techniques in the development of a computational methodology grounded in swarm intelligence. While discussing the political and social role of agency, the workshop will focus on an abstract design methodology, recasting simple decision making ability into agents capable of self-organizing into an emergent intelligence. Scripting will form the basis for algorithmic models which enable localized interaction of agents to generate emergent topologies in the design of proto-architectural forms, structures and articulation. Unlike the typical application of swarm systems in design, this workshop will not engage simply in the mapping of these complex systems, but instead, we will mine the self-organizing potential of the systems to negotiate between a complex set of desires and parameters in the generation of architecture.
The semester will focus around two areas of research, initially developing simulations of vector based swarm systems and then using these as the basis for developing an architectural design methodology which operates within a topological substrate. This second stage of the research will shift away from any analogous relationship to an existing swarm systems and develop a design process capable of negotiating architectural inputs.
The seminar will intensively engage scripting, using and expanding on a library of agent code which will ensure that students are not slowed by the necessity of writing all the code they require. Instead the focus will be on the application and manipulation of code within the design process. This expansive library has been developed through research at Kokkugia and previous studios and seminars. The library consists of relatively simple functions (such as steering behaviors) which can be recombined in the development of more complex algorithms.
Computational design is shifting away from the reliance on heavy platforms such as Maya’s MEL scripting language into lightweight object oriented programming environments, enabling the massive iteration required for emergent processes. In anticipating this shift, the workshops will focus on the newer lightweight languages such as Processing, C# and Python. As the research shifts into a topological substrate these languages will be transferred into Maya (Python) and Rhino (C#) to enable agent intelligence to be embedded into geometry.
workshop 01 | jan 19th - jan 21st
session 1 - lecture: introduction to swarm intelligence + processing intro
session 2 - instruction: object oriented programming and agent code in processing
session 3 - seminar: designing with agent code
session 4 - instruction: vector libraries and steering behaviors
workshop 02 | feb 2nd - feb 4th
session 1 - instruction: advanced steering libraries
session 2 - seminar: the emergence of character vs optimization
session 3 - instruction: obstacles and attractors
workshop 03 | march 1st - march 3rd
session 1 - project 1 review
session 2 - agents and rhino
session 3 - introduction to python
workshop 04 | march 15th - march 17th
session 1 - instruction: agents and meshes
session 2 - seminar: materializing the swarm
session 3 - desk crits
final review | date tba