Our expert panel introduced optimisation as a general theory and discussed how viewing design and the design process as an optimisation problem can lead to better engineering and streamlined practice.
Engineers traditionally rely on precedent when designing buildings or bridges, selecting and then adjusting a standard structural layout to suit a given application. An alternative approach is to start with requirements and to then use optimisation to identify the structural layout most closely meeting these.
Reasons to watch
Understand how engineering optimisation is not only the optimisation of design, but also the processes which enable design.
Become broadly familiar with solutions to optimisation problems that occur within the profession
Gain insight into how processes can be optimised
Matthew Gilbert is a Professor at the University of Sheffield. He has a longstanding interest in the development of optimisation techniques for a wide range of problems. He is a Chartered Engineer and is a Director of the University spinout company LimitState, which develops analysis and design software for use in industry.
Jon Leach leads AECOM’s Structural Engineering Technical Practice Group in the UK and Europe. He is also AECOM’s Sport and Entertainment sector lead, and his London-based team specialises in stadia and long span roof design. Recent key projects include Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 2 and Third Runway Concourse, the Curragh Racecourse, and major venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Martha Tsigkari is a Senior Partner at Foster + Partners, where she heads the Applied Research and Development group. Her background spans architecture, engineering, and computer science. She has two decades of experience working in projects of all scales and uses. Her work incorporates computational design, human-computer interaction, machine learning, and optimisation. She has investigated the usage of deep neural networks and genetic algorithms in the design process, aiming to solve problems ranging from passively actuated micromaterials to performance-driven urban layouts. She is also an Associate Professor at the Bartlett, UCL and has lectured and published on the subject of computational design internationally.