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Algorithms help improve building design

Modern optimization algorithms offer solutions for architectural decisions like spatial, structural and energy efficiency. A young computer scientist from Leiden University co-authored a paper that won the Best Paper Award at a leading conference in Krakow during the summer.

Constant trade-off

In architecture, there is a constant trade-off between many aspects of the building process. Architects may prefer to design beautifully shaped city icons. However, these may not be the most stable or energy-efficient ones. PhD student Koen van der Blom from the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) developed algorithms that can lead to the optimal shape of a building and its wall configurations.

The Pareto front describes the trade-off between strain energy and energy performance.

Cooperation with TU Eindhoven

Van der Blom from LIACS is working on this topic with an engineering PhD student from the Technical University of Eindhoven. The project “Excellent Buildings by Forefront Multidisciplinary Optimization” is a project funded by the STW Open Technology Grant in 2015. It is meant to find building shapes that combine low energy use with optimal spatial and structural performance.

Best Paper Award

The paper was presented at the 23rd International Workshop of the European Group for Intelligent Computing in Engineering (EG-ICE), a well-established event in computational aspects of engineering that took place in Krakow in the beginning of summer. There, the paper was awarded the Best Paper Award. Van der Blom’s supervisor at LIACS Michael Emmerich: “I am very proud of these young researchers, who are only in the second year of their PhD project.”