AAL presented Opossum, an optimization tool for Grasshopper based on the RBFOpt library, at a two-day workshop at the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA) 2017 Conference at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China, on 2 and 3 of April. The workshop titled “Optimize this!” was proposed by Thomas Wortmann, led by him, Aloysius Lian and Akbar Zuardin from AAL and supported by Judyta Cichocka from Parametric Support.
The workshop had ten participants – maximum enrolment. All participants, save one, had a background in architecture, with one lecturer/architect, one PhD student, seven master students and one industrial engineer. The workshop consisted of brief lectures and hands-on sessions. The lectures introduced global, black-box optimization, discussed the differences between such optimization methods. They also provided an overview over related topics, such as generative parametric design, multi-objective optimization and multi-variate visualization.In the hands-on sessions, participants created their own optimization problems in Grasshopper, using plug-ins for structural (Karamba) and daylighting (Honeybee) simulations. The case studies developed the participants’ interests and practice, and covered the optimization of building designs in terms of structure, view and spatial quality, daylighting strategies for educational institution, packing/nesting strategies for CNC cut sheets, and the optimization of custom steel pipes used for the construction of a large scale civic structure for the Rotorua town southern gateway in New Zealand.Using these problems, the participants compared the performance of five optimization tools available in Grasshopper, including Opossum. The remaining optimization tools were “Galapagos”, which includes a genetic algorithm and simulated annealing, and Silvereye, which is a particle swarm algorithm. The optimization results were rigorously documented in benchmark studies and showcased at the CAADRIA 2017 conference.

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