Generative Design

The future of CAD

The evolution of Bio CAD

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Future  breakthroughs in CAD is more likely to come from the design tools for creating microscopic wet wear than from the crude tools known as CAD designed to combine metal and  concrete into architectural artifice. Because the latter is bound to be dumber. We wish  it to remain that way servile to our limited imagination.While the design tools for  cells, organs and organisms are being designed to operate beyond human imagination and in the mode of discovery – opening up unimaginable possibilities.

BioCAD

 

Interesting both Bio and Non-Bio CAD started off life similarly; representing geometry and design data. Ah.. then they got cleverer  as they attempted not only design, but to make  design better – one objective at at time – usually through optimization. Both CAD systems now do single criteria optimization reasonable well, because before you optimize you need to  define a “design problems”. Once you make design into a “problem” there is no problem there after. All you need is to call in the engineers – they all now carry with them a bag of tools for optimization. But even then, they can only do “single criteria optimization” in other words solve only one problem at a time.

The trouble starts when you have more than one criteria and that is a real problem; because all real design problems are multi criteria problems. Here the “problem sovlers” have a real problem. Though some may retreat into a theoretical multi criteria problem solving mode, most of them know that they have no idea how to solve it. And it is here that Bio CAD is beginning to overtake, because those who fashion it know that problems and solutions don’t appear at once – they are grown through a complex developmental process.

Next generation Bio CAD

From a review of genetic computational tools

The first generation of tools dealt predominantly with singular objectives such as codon usage optimization and unique restriction site incorporation. Recent years have seen the emergence of sequence design tools that aim to evolve sequences toward combinations of objectives. The design of optimal protein-coding sequences adhering to multiple objectives is computationally hard, and most tools rely on heuristics to sample the vast sequence design space.

The article revives a wide range of CAD tools and there are some interesting similarities with architectural CAD. Interestingly most of the CAD tools are open sourced, community based and  operate online. Some of them like clotho are platforms (like grasshopper) allowing users to create component CAD systems that they can create, share and connect.

There seems to be a clear evolution here. Bio CAD seems to be moving from rule (or grammar) based  creation tools into tools that can handle some of the complexity of biological design processes which are still being discovered by scientist. Hopefully  from these efforts we will learn the wonderful ways that nature exploits to explore vast design spaces that allowed it to fashion complex organisms like our selves capable of understanding our own making.

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Written by Sivam Krish

October 16, 2014 at 11:51 pm

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