What a day it has been!
The Design Computation symposium was very interesting and engaging, and featured several presentations that showed how some of the best minds around are putting technology to work for them and their clients. One can easily say that at this point, these techniques and tools are not as accessible to the every-day designer, but it won't be too far into the future until versions of similar tools might become available to us common folks!
The presentation ended with a keynote speech by Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk. I was personally quite impressed to notice the passionate "geek" in him as he explained where Autodesk is headed in trying to bring together their portfolio of tools into some "homogenized" form (my word) in order to make them more familiar to users as they transition from one tool to the next while working on various parts and phases of their projects. You could really tell that this person understands, knows and loves this business and it was refreshing to see a CEO that was so "in touch" with their products. It felt very genuine to me and not some marketing-department-crafted speech.
The highlight of the speech was a discourse about the move from the current toolset-centric approach to a data-centric approach. Today we have a lot of great computation tools, either commercially available or built-to-suit for specific projects, that we can use to analyze various aspects of the building such as energy usage, solar shading, structural stability, program/brief requirements (adjacencies), etc., but also other tools that enable us to realize the built form and rationalize complex geometries, such as through digital fabrication and scripting. At the moment, we're forced to use specialized individual (unrelated?) models to obtain results, but if the promise of BIM is to be fulfilled, we need to move to a data-centric approach where data fidelity and exchange is paramount. As the project moves back and forth between different tools while it is being refined and optimized based on their feedback, we cannot afford to lose/corrupt any of the embedded data.
The day ended with the BIM Mixer, which traditionally was the "Revit Mixer". It was a great gathering with a maximum capacity of 1,200 people. There were obviously hundreds of Reviteers from all over the globe amongst other software users. I was glad to meet up with some new faces and some old ones (not quite literally), fellow bloggers and tons of AUGI Forum members. I was hopping around all over the place and I hope my co-workers didn't feel like I was deserting them! I did miss meeting quite a few people, but I'm sure we'll be able to catch up before the end of the week. I had the pleasure of meeting several Autodesk employees, especially ones that are involved (shall we say, key?) in Revit development. And these poor people have to put up with us users, always wanting more and never happy with what we've got ;)
Tomorrow promises to be another jam-packed day. I have too many notes and thoughts that I would like to report on from today's Symposium, so I'll leave that to another future post where I can better do it justice.