2021-03-17 Computational Digital-Physical Interface for Infrastructure Production - Volker Mueller

A Computational Digital-Physical Interface for Infrastructure Production

Speaker: Volker Mueller

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM CST

Online Event

Admission: Free, General Admission, open to the public, registration required.

Computational Opportunities at the Digital-Physical Interface in Infrastructure Production - Automating the Transformation of Digital Information into Physical Artifacts

Aging and crumbling infrastructure difficult to maintain; the surge in urbanization; providing shelter for humans to live and work in; all of these problems create challenges on a global scale. These non-trivial problems, begging to be solved, can be transformed by the construction industry taking advantage of innovative use of computing technologies. This talk will look at the major obstacles to automation in construction and how that compares to other industries.

For centuries, automation and computation have worked together. Further progress in automation relies upon progress in computation. Computer professionals and researchers are uniquely positioned to effect progress in the construction industry.

The construction industry lags far behind other industries in terms of productivity gains. In most industries the main drivers of productivity increases have either been outsourcing or automation-driven reduction of the workforce.

In this talk we will review the obstacles to automation: for example location dependency or the materials used in construction with their behaviors, tolerances, and properties. We will outline opportunities for computation seen in prototypical implementations and with practice innovations. We will also look at the effect of automation on the infrastructure lifecycle: planning, design, supply chain and workforce considerations, construction logistics, maintenance, and any decommissioning and demolition.


(Times are Central Standard Time)

6:00pm - brief intros

6:05pm - Talk by Volker Mueller

6:45pm - Q&A

7:00pm - end

Trained as an architect, Volker Mueller has worked in the transitional zone between the digital and the physical. From 1993 to 1998 he was part of the development team for a 3d-modeling application that aimed at facilitating architectural design as a 3-dimensional activity.

From 1998 to 2008 he supported an architecture firm which had the ambition to integrate the flow of knowledge about a design project from inception to construction and across all involved disciplines.

From 2008 to 2019 he joined a software company in developing software for the infrastructure industry as computational design researcher and product manager, promoting the use of computational approaches in infrastructure design. Currently he is the leader of the software development department of an equipment manufacturer for the steel fabrication industry.


This talk does not have the ambition to resolve any ethical issues as may be implied by the Preamble to the ACM Code of Professional Ethics: "Computing professionals' actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ("the Code") expresses the conscience of the profession." (https://www.acm.org/code-of-ethics; retrieved 01/10/2021) Nor does it aim to suggest any political or other societal solutions. This should be the goal of a wider-ranging debate within our community and obviously is not a challenge unique to the topic of this talk.


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1 - Reserve on Meetup


2 - Register with the Zoom event



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