2010-12-06

AU 2010: My top 5 lists

Most of you may remember the great movie High Fidelity, starring John Cusack, Jack Black and Catherine Zeta Jones back in 2000. The main character, Rob, would analyze every situation through listing the “top 5 items” of a category. With Autodesk University just finished, here’s my summary of an intense week with ups and downs:

AU 2010: Top 5 High points

1. Discovering the power of mobile communication: You have probably read my previous post, where I explained my glad surprise in regards to sharing information, tips, complaints… “Social Media”, blogging, twitting (or tweeting?!?) is clearly the result of giving every person walking around the chance to shout their thoughts. And in a positive vicious circle we communicate what is the latest advance in communication tools, and it all gets connected. I should conclude with “RT if u agree” ;)

2. Presence of BIM: It’s probably yesterday’s news that I am a strong believer in the BIM revolution and an evangelist of its principles. Seeing many classes on BIM theory, implementation, programs, interoperability was a great! I felt I was on the right side of the road (I felt compelled to “customize” the “I love AutoCAD” badge I was given for it to read “I love Revit”).

3. Meeting people, putting a face to the name, networking, discussing with more users… This is not new to this year, not even new to AU. Still it was a highlight of the event, and I enjoyed every time it happened. Informal meetings in the “AEC Lounge” or even walking in a random class following a crowd were great.

4. The HOK BIM Summit. Technically this was not part of AU, but the possibility of gathering 40 people from 15 different offices was amazing. We had a series of presentations by our management and a showcase of the best projects in the company. A privilege and a pleasure.

5.  The classes on Revit API. I use Revit a lot, and I am often researching deep into its functions. As a consequence the classes that explained tips and tricks in general, or deeper into one or another functionality, in general failed to surprise me. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were master classes on technique and skill, and I love the fact that there is an effort to teach the use of the program and an interest to learn it. In fact, I was one of them! But on the other side, there is a dark door at the end of the Revit corridor leads to a secret garden. The API is a way to allow external programs to interact with the geometry in Revit… and I am looking forward to write some of those programs! Expect news on this front – it’s entering my “Under NDA” domain!!!

AU 2010: Top 5 Low points (or Bottom 5 points?)

In general I am happy with this year’s AU experience. The following points are what I would improve for next ones:

1. AU Virtual interface. Cheesy and a bit over-pretentious, heavy to load and maybe not too intuitive, it become a barrier for people trying to get the Virtual classes live. The interface in English was impossible to overcome by the attendees of the Spanish or Portuguese classes that didn’t know English. Buffering issues when accessing, and a major server problem for the early sessions were the biggest challenge of this year. If you missed the classes, here’s a link to see them on demand:

AU Virtual 2010 - Classes on Demand

2. Technology Stage discussion. It replaced last year’s Design Slam? Or even tried to? The dimming lights, the poor sound quality and a closed discussion between 5 people sitting on stage were quite hard to follow, and most people left early. Having a few people playing with software would have been much more fun. Or the short Pecha-Kucha presentations. Or a stand-up comedian. Or just a DJ (last year’s attendees know what I mean…)

au10_class_details_new_690x100

3. The class timing. Lynn Allen said that nowadays 1 hour feels longer. Some very dynamic classes filled the hour leaving an “I want more” sensation… the 2 hour classes with a break in between were sometimes too long to follow, or clashing different sessions I wanted to attend. The strategy of “let’s do a 10 minute break” was great to keep the attention and get the class going, but after almost 2.5 hours I needed a longer break and was late for the next class. I remember 90 minutes was about right for most cases…

4. The distance between Product Release and the Conference. I was told that back in the days product release was just before AU. And it makes a lot of sense that you’d go to AU to find out about the new products. This AU was around 8 months after the release of products, so most people have been playing with them long enough. Two exceptions I know of (and as far as I know were very celebrated) are Project Vasari, that was officially launched 2 weeks before the conference, and Sketchbook Mobile for android. Vasari I knew about, but I was glad to see people taking notes about it, and was topic to argue at different levels. SBM I heard of during a class, and 2 minutes later I had it installed and was playing with it. It adds so much value to be there and hear the latest news first hand. I suppose it’s easier to move AU than to move product launch… either option would be great.

5. Not getting my classes chosen. I hope that next year I can stand in front of the class and spread the word. It is tiring and demanding, but I’d love to do it. At least now I have the AUV experience backing me up, I just have to submit a good topic to talk about and get you to vote the class.

AU 2010: My top 5 classes

1. Leveraging the Tail End of the BIM Life Cycle with APIs, by Don Rudder. Great balance between hard code and practical tips, with a very useful demo: a web-based building management tool with bi-directional data exchange to Revit.

2. Fuzzy Math Essentials for Revit Family Builders. Not many things I didn’t know, but very nicely presented. The handout is a must-read 42-page packed with formulas, tips, techniques… It clashed with the AEC keynote, yet many big Revit names were in the room, which says a lot!

3. A Brave New Mobile World by Christopher Cheung. This is the class I entered following some Autodesk people who promised a great delivery. It described the history of the drawing/design tools concluding in the announcement of the latest in sketching on a mobile phone. Fantastic! Unfortunately the class page doesn’t have a handout or a slideshow recording it :(

4. BIM and IPD for Project Leaders. Held by HOK leaders (James Vandezande and Lee Miller), it was an enjoyable description of BIM implementation. I was impressed with their presentation skills, and some of the material they presented!

5. My own class on BIM at HOK. Please excuse a little self-winding here, but I really enjoyed delivering it and received some good feedback. If you dare to practice some Spanish, it’s available on-demand!

I heard fantastic comments on the classes by the usual suspects (Phil Read, Paul Aubin, Robert Manna, David Fano, David Baldacchino, David Light, Steve Stafford…) of which I am not surprised! Now I am slowly downloading all the material to learn from them, and I encourage you to do the same.

I now invite you to leave comments, as your AU experience may and most likely has been different to mine, and I’d love to hear about it!

Kind regards,
William.

2010-12-01

The era of communication

I am going to start this post with a few easy quotes: "The 21st century is all about communication", "We live in a global world", "The world has shrunk because of ease of communication".

For many years I've heard these phases and effectively not only believed in them but also enjoyed the meaning of them. From the good old brick mobile phones, allowing to keep talking (or shouting repeatedly "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!???") while on the move, to the sophisticated cloud computing technology, unleashing collaborative addition of "unlimited" computing power regardless of geographic location, there have been many shades and variations of the way we exchange information.

And Information is another concept that has become key to modern life: access to information, freedom of information, building information... anything makes the cut under the "information" label.

As I've been promising for weeks now, today I have done my AU Virtual classes. And with them, these couple of days out in the Autodesk University conference have given me a mind-blowing reality check on this "communications" world: I fully charged my recently-upgraded (after complaining since I bought it as I said in this previous post) and carried it around despite having turned the Data roaming off. Then I met Brok, from the HOK St. Louis office. We exchanged nods and thumbs up about our android phones... and then I said "but an android phone has its wings clipped without data connection...". Brok then turned his phone into an Access Point, and next thing I knew I was online again. I was overwhelmed with the noble gesture of a fellow HOKer I had only met 10 minutes earlier, and decided it was a good thing to publicly show my appreciation. Taking advantage of my new great connection, I twitted using my @UnderNDA account. Following the most fashionable trend, I then started looking for those #AU2010 tags, following the names I recognized, retwitted the messages I found interesting, replied to the ones I had an opinion on. Soon I realized I was not alone, I got replies, mentions, retweets... loads of them!

In case you haven't been to a conference were over 5000 of the geekiest people you can imagine get over excited by being constantly bombarded with ground-breaking news, tendencies, live demonstrations and insider previews, imagine one of those "mad scientists" of a black and white sci-fi movie of the 60's that is about to discover the "secret formula to see the future"... pulling out of the pocket a small device that will allow him to make contact with any other creature in the outer space that could understand his theory...
Not far from that, these 5000 "experts in graphic and drawing software" (aka BIM, CAD, 3D and Engineering technology GEEKS) -and by no mean I will try to avoid falling in this description-, were pulling out all sort of weapons, from mobile phones, tablets, laptops, netbooks... to broadcast the action to the others, within the community, regardless of where they were!

And it is so effective! I found out where the classes were, what was about to start, who was attending... A lot of information, constantly updated, at the tip of your fingers...
Needless to say... I do sound like one of them!

I am quite surprised, though, of the stories behind the communication: I am dodging time difference between Las Vegas (were the AU conference is held) and home at London being able to use Skype at any time... just to prove my point, I have called my wife using the following "communication" path:
My phone running Skype > Broke Access Point > Brok's Internet access > Skype out to a VoIP virtual "local number in Buenos Aires" that I have for my family to call me > VoIP - their servers are based in US > Local number in London, my wife's office > my home phone, as due to the tube strike she had transferred her office number and was working remotely.

That's 7 jumps around the world, data flying up and down the globe that translated in no more than a couple of seconds of "please wait while your call is being transferred".

Another communication story that made me think, Anna Winston, a real reporter from UK's BD (as opposed to us amateur "news spreaders") twitted an apology "to followers who aren't architects\tech geeks and have no idea what I'm talking about"... It was a great eye-opener: she proved to understand the reach of communication, she acknowledged that you are not firing a message to outer space but to real people that are waiting for the message to arrive. I am still a geek enjoying the technology showcase and spreading my excitement, and in turn feeling the excitement in those posts like "wore my yoda jedi socks so hopefully the force was with me... only time will tell" (thanks @davewlight for such capture of inspiration!).

Lastly, I'd like to mention what happens when communication fails... this morning a server was down, and the broadcast of the Virtual classes didn't happen. Disappointed, I saw many hours taken away from other projects (and readers from older posts know what I mean) crumbling under the "why are these videos not showing?" "How do we access the classes?" or "There is no content... what is happening?". People were trying to communicate, and it wasn't happening despite having left the HOK party early last night to be in the broadcast centre at 4:45am and the beyond-human efforts of Nick, the Event Manager, fighting to get around 15 of us at least to a chat room where we could apologize to the audience and explain what the fault was, hoping to get the problem solved in time for the following class.

The good news is that for those who couldn't access the classes they have been made available through the Autodesk University Class Catalog:
http://au.autodesk.com/?nd=auv2010_class_catalog&und=517
And for my immense peace of mind, the last session had around 6 people making questions, and two guys in particular that engaged in discussion, made very interesting questions about BIM and Revit, and showed a warm appreciation of the content of the class, which made me very, very happy. Thanks Raul and Oscar :D

Now I'll wrap up this extense post because I just got an email on my phone saying that the hok gang is gathering for dinner. (I am working my skills to embed videos and better pics instead of all this text)
Stay around for some interesting posts on the amazing stuff being shown at AU2010!!!

Keep in touch, follow me on twitter (@UnderNDA) and enjoy the communication!
Kind regards,
William.

2010-11-18

A lot of exciting news

Once again, about a month without posting...
An echo from the previous posts says I've been preparing my AU classess. Now finally all handouts are uploaded and classes rehearsed, so just waiting for the big day!
In the meantime, I've been working crazy hours in the office to finish a competition (still Under NDA, but I will share in due course some findings on Revit Conceptual Design you may find interesting...)

So this is my second day back to normal life, and I want to touch base on the different parallel projects I have been working on/following, and share some amazing findings I came across in these last days:

1. Revit Conceptual Massing: Autodesk has released a free "Revit Light" Conceptual Massing tool, that can be run from a memory stick without installing it... I'm not sure if you are as excited as me about this, but it looks so promising in so many levels I cannot even start to describe it!
Have a look:
Project Vasari on Youtube

1a. Still on the Revit front, I've been hearing some buzz about the "cloud" technology approach to collaboration... I haven't investigated much but I am looking forward to learn more!

 2. Genetic Design: I've been promising an update on my "Part 1" post for some time now, where I am aming to describe the complexity of setting the design procedure into a script. Of course Grasshopper is great to explicit the decisions you make in the design, yet it's difficult to get the optimization part right.
I couldn't believe when I found out that the latest release of Grasshopper has incorporated another plugin, Galapagos, that is nothing but a Genetic Algorithm Solver! Still getting my head around this, but I am hoping to translate my fairly complex Excel procedure to a complete Rhino solution.

3. Augmented Reality: I haven't mentioned it yet, but I'm trying to get some architectural project into AR, and thinking of the possibilities of interacting with them from a Design point of view: Either changing options, playing with phasing, studying relationships between volumes...
On this front I just discovered that some people are pushing the open source ARToolkit into Flash... and I'm hoping to work with Tim, our office Graphic Designer and Flash expert, to get it sorted somehow...

4. Finally, on the Android front, I am still waiting for 2.2 to be released by O2 (and the Samsung software for installing it is not exactly the most reliable piece of software engineering art), but playing with App Inventor is great fun. The App Inventor Extension is a great add-on, to get info back and to web pages. Still nothing mind-blowing from me, but I keep trying!!!

I wish I can get the Genetig Design working with the Revit Conceptual massing, into the Augmented Reality environment through my Android phone... Nice combination of all current projects, eh?

I have only suggested and never got to describe in detail here, but I have a long running background idea for an Artificial Intelligence system. I wish I had some spare time to investigate further... as there seems to be a lot of information available. Quick teaser and to grab comments of those among you already working on this, my idea is a cloud-type collaborative dual neural network, back feeding live information and self learning from simula... what do you think?

Post Script (this time in Spanish):
Espero que las clases de AU Virtual sean interesantes e informativas, dejen mensajes si ya se anotaron... nos hablamos el 31 de Noviembre!!!
Abuela, te mando un beso, espero que te mejores pronto! Nos vemos en Navidad, cuando viajo para Bs As!

2010-10-16

The android revolution

Still busy trying to get my AU Virtual classes ready, so with little time for my side projects...
But I changed my Nokia E71 phone (amazing piece of engineering, by the way) for a Samsung Galaxy S. My wife says it's a wannabe iPhone... I say under the bonnet it has a very different beast: the android OS.

I got tired of waiting for the android 2.2 version to reach the market... and all manufacturers are promising great new features in the phones "about to be released". So I made up my mind and entered the phone store. I was amazed by the range of options: iPhone 3G,3GS,4... Nokia E72 (I admit it crossed my mind...) and the android ones: HTC, Samsung, Dell... Bigger screens, or bigger memory, or faster processor, or a cheaper plan, they all sound tempting. My decision was based on the Operating System mainly and a balance between screen size and capacity to fit my pocket (the Dell Streak is fantastic... but I haven't seen mobile phones that big since the Motorola "bricks" in the '80s!)

Now I am discovering that installing the Development Kits and plugging the phone in "debugging" mode, I can access it through the computer, and I am slowly understanding the Java-based programming language. But I am having a lot of fun with the Application Inventor: a web-based tool by Google, where programming is not far from Grasshopper!
I imagine some of you will share my passion for this "visual scripting" tool, imagine my surprise when I discovered I can "click" procedures and instructions in a jigsaw puzzle looking environment, colour-coded and with shapes that, for example, expose components that need an argument and variables or constants you can use...


So, to the endless list of projects "Under NDA" I have added now tutorials and future android apps :)

Among the initial tests I did with my phone, I have plugged it to a server using Citrix and to a TV with a A/V cable. A bluetooth connection allows to use mouse and keyboard (that I've seen in the Dell phone but I couldn't on mine). The consequence is that in theory I could use my mobile as portable office: it would bridge the input-output and use a remote server for full desktop power. It was really exciting to see Revit on the 4 inch screen!!!

Still waiting for my firmware update, but I am really happy to have shifted to android. Now this is triggering a new series of side projects: from the office connectivity and the app tutorials to more ambitious architecture-oriented applications and an Artificial Intelligence project I will tell you when I get a chance.

Stay tuned, the future is coming!!!

2010-10-04

Formula-driven surface in Revit

The heading to this blog reads "...trails of projects too small to be considered or too large to be accomplished... "
This time it's one of the short easy-come easy-go projects, start to end in 2 hours.


By chance I came across a challenge on an AUGI forum:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=119544


The subject "Revit can't do it" and some names I recognized got my attention, and before I realized I was fighting to get a solution. The puzzle consisted in drawing the shape of the British Museum atrium roof.
Fortunately part of the briefing information was a link to a geometric analysis of the shape:
http://opus.bath.ac.uk/14111/1/ChrisDeakin2001.pdf


Based on the capability of the new adaptive components I quickly built a family that would drive the height from the coordinates x y (Reporting Parameters) of the Adaptive Point (using in principle the technique described by Zach Kron here), but using the complicated formulas in the report...


The result is a Revit family with a lot of maths... and the surface of the British Museum:






You can find more details in the AUGI forum:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=119544&page=4


Cheers,
William.

2010-09-19

Long time no post...

Hello again!
It's been over a month since my last post, and I just want to let you know what I've been up to:
I've been travelling a lot, a couple of short trips to Belgium (bank holiday weekend) and Italy (to the wedding of a friend), and then a week off to Maldives, celebrating my wife's 30th birthday.
All this left me with little time to spend on side activities, if you don't consider bicycle riding under the rain, highway driving to get to the airport when your flight is already boarding, snorkelling, sunbathing and eating a lot activities worth mentioning in this blog...

Cycling in Belgium
Driving in Italy
Snorkelling in Maldives

I have been working too -in between trips :P -, and that lead to some development on the Genetic Design problem that will publish as soon as I have a spare moment under the title "Success of Failure"... because it's proving extremely interesting and moving in the right direction but yet far from practical... Also at the office I will be trying to contribute to a very interesting initiative, the Lecture Junkie.

Last but not least, I am preparing two presentations for this year's Autodesk University in Las Vegas. For the first time they are introducing a virtual format in multiple languages, and I am presenting two classes in Spanish: "BIM en Práctica: el Ejemplo de HOK usando Autodesk Revit Architecture" (BIM in Practice: HOK's case-study using RAC) and "Modelado Paramétrico con Autodesk Revit Architecture" (Parametric Modelling using RAC). If you are planning to attend AU Virtual in Spanish sign up for them, they will be interesting! People going to Vegas drop me a line, I'd love to meet you guys there!



That's it for now, I'd like to thank the comments received in the other posts and welcome the new followers (in particular plug who left 2 comments, setting a new record :D ).

2010-08-15

Thinking about 4D

It's been a great first week as a blogger, adding 15 followers, nice comments and references from other blogs. I am also very happy that the point I made in my first post about trying to meet people with same interests or chasing similar goals have already paid off!

In the meantime Alistair from the office sent me a quick note that got me thinking: in the BIM community we generally talk about drafting tools that deal with drawings separately as "2D", and then the ones where all the information gets stored in a single model as "3D". All clear up to that. Then we get about 4D (time) and even 5D (money) to describe the advantages of meta-data and database capabilities in our beloved Building Information Models.

But in modern physics there is a diferentiation between "Spacetime", where time and distance measurements are combined in a single manifold, in the Relativistic approach and multi-dimensional Euclidean space (which is the geometry we are taught in school). So our "fourth dimension" is another distance, but somehow measured "inside the 3D point". Also, degrees of freedom would increase (Civil Engineers in the room correct me if I'm wrong):
In a 1D world elements can only move back and forth,
In 2D they can move up-down and rotate in 1 direction,
In 3D they can move in 3 directions and rotate around 3 axia.

In 4D...? Well I'm not sure, but I suppose they can move in 4 directions (remember the 4th is moving but staying in the same XYZ location) and rotate in 7 directions???


Consequences: if we imagine a "planar world" and a naughty 3D object trying to hide, it would just jump to another value of "Z"... becoming invisible to the fellow 2D objects... who could only see the projection or the intersection to their 2D space. Maybe UFOs and Aliens are among us, but just hiding in the 4th dimension...

Besides, all our screens (until recently at least) are a 2D surface, where the 3D space (represented by vectors and coorinates) gets projected to flat plans, sections, axonometric and perspective views. Similar abstract programming can transform the virtual 4D space into computer screens to "play with it in virtual reality" and research shows that human brain can actually interact with 4D space without too much training...

Thanks again to Alistair for the brain-teaser, hoping to have gotten you thinking just like he did with me, here's a couple of links to read further:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_dimension
http://math.eretrandre.org/4dbb/index.php

 wich also reminded me of a quote from one of my favourite movies:

Neo: I know what you are doing.
Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

Back to the projects, I'm making progress on the Genetic Design, so expect a follow-up shortly.
Have a nice week!
William.

2010-08-12

Genetic Design - Part 1: General concepts

In my second post I'd like to thank my friend and Blogging mentor David Light, who featured this space in his highly respected blog. I guess most of you got here through there, but if you landed directly here I highly recommend having a look at http://autodesk-revit.blogspot.com/, packed with tips, news and tools for the BIM enthusiast.
Enough said as introduction, let's talk about my current after-hours project.

About 2 years ago I went to a conference on Genetic Algorithm applied to Design. In a room full of engineers, I saw some examples of Genetic principles applied to Air Conditioning system planning, lighting design, and some shy approach to layout planning. The tools they used were some Java and C++ applets, lots of spreadsheets with complex scripting and occasionally some diagrams. Despite many interesting things were said, I was left with the feeling that the Architectural Design implementation was one I would have liked to chase, eventually.

If you haven't noticed yet, this is "the brief" of the challenge. The case study is an urban multi-tower development massing. But let me clarify a few principles to describe the aspiration of the research.

View of 20 options overlapping. This information has been generated out of data created at random in Excel, and will inform the following iteration of the design...

- What is Genetic Algorithm?
As you can read in Wikipedia, Genetic Algorithm is a process (generally used to optimize or serch options) that mimics the natural evolution. The goal I am chasing here is a process that will create and refine design options to achieve an "optimum" solution.

- What is the "Evolution" sequence?
The process is based on the "survival of the fittest", which implies that you have to be able to generate options, compare them, rank them and recombine them to offspring the next generation. In the Design field, this is generally done as part of an iterative process, where a few options are created, analized and then reprocessed to achieve a better design. But in times of Digital Architecture and Parametric Design, it would be interesting to leave the process to the machine, and sit back watching your "ideal solution" evolve on the screen.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for all us Designers out there) it's not as simple as that, because:
1) The "natural selection" of the fittest options is extremely difficult to script - as it's generally difficult to establish what makes an option better than the other (after all, Architecture is nor far from Sculpture... right?)
2) Multiple options could be "best" in their own right, presenting the problem of the multiple-variable optimization (or Pareto Optimality after the Economist Vilfredo Pareto who studied it).

On the Pareto Front, all the options are better than the others... which one is "the best"?

Bottom line is that instead of reaching an ideal option, we will have to choose from a set of options that will be optimal. So reduce the problem to numbers and compare them... easy, right?


Extract of the Excel formula to establish if an option is better than another and rank their survival

Back to the massing exercise, my constraint is an irregular site, a target total area and a series of setback conditions that depend on the hight of the building. Standard design approach is to sketch the massing that looks alright (say one tall tower in the centre of the composition, a couple of mid-height elements to the east and a scatter of shorter buildings to the west. It feels right, looks great in the renderings, client signs-off. Then we use our BIM tool of choice to get the areas spot-on, and wait for Scheme Design to realize that the setback condition is not fulfilled... How could we consider the setback, if it depended on the height of the building? All Revit experts out there will point at smart flexible families, like the ones Zack presented here.

I am trying to transform the design to a "genetic code", and then I am using Excel for the math calculations and "genetic manipulation" and Rhino/Grasshopper for the graphic analysis. So far (this project is not functional yet) I have dealt with the random creation of the options, exporting the data from Excel to a text file, getting it into Rhino and generating the shapes.

Create a value at random ("mutate") or search for the average between parents, with a weight for "dominant" or "recessive" genes... and a bit of randomness on top...

Steps to follow include: the intersection study in Rhino (to establish if the buildings are landing on the site or within the setback conditions), Export from Rhino into Excel, and automating the process to be able to iterate overnight (currently the Excel macros are manually triggered, and I get a "confirm you want to override file" dialogue that stops the whole process...). Find below a snapshot of the current Grasshopper definition:



Please let me know if you've heard of or worked in similar challenges, or any comment that adds to the discussion. The information will remain "Under Non Disclosure Agreement".

2010-08-10

Welcome to "Under NDA"

So, I started a Blog.
Last week after the office I went to the bar with the guys, and went on about another crazy side project, one of those that could change the world if ever completed. Robbie asked: "Do you ever get to write about these topics? If you did, how big the book would be?"
He left me thinking... and triggered the big question: if I was to write at least a line on these wild shots into technology, interoperability, robotics, BIM, would anyone be interested? Maybe I will inspire or influence an ongoing investigation even trigger a new one, or get in contact with people that are dealing with subjects that drive my attention.
I have to admit that I rarely push to conclusion these ideas, and quite often forget about them after some time. Maybe by keeping track of some of them I will be able to compile enough information to write a book (most likely the blog itself will be my only publication though!)
The title is meant to be puzzling: Discussions held "Under Non Disclosure Agreement" are supposed to be private... yet I am blogging about them.

Let me get this clear (and I will probably repeat it over and over again): ALL IDEAS OR PROJECTS EXPRESSED HERE REFER TO PERSONAL SIDE PROJECTS, AND ARE IN NO DIRECT CONNECTION TO ANY COMPANY I HAVE WORKED OR COLLABORATED IN THE PAST OR PRESENT. I DO NOT INTEND TO DISCLOSE PRIVILEGED INFORMATION OR REFER TO ONGOING PROJECTS. IF ANY INFORMATION PUBLISHED HERE IS CONSIDERED TO BE AGAINST THIS STATEMENT, CONTACT ME AND I WILL AMEND THE PUBLICATION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

The coming posts will (hopefully) explain my thinking: I've read a lot about using Genetic Algorithm in an architectural design process, combining the "analytical approach to Design" that Prof. Baudizzone taught me in Uni, back in 1997. Yet I never got it implemented - the closest I got to it was a GWBASIC program for a Museum competition, that was not really using Genetic optimization.

Another long running project is the implementation of a collaborative Neural Network for an AI concept. Never got far either...

When I was 9 or 10 (maybe a bit more) I designed a series of robotic arms, based on cardboard and strings, and I kept the "blueprints" in a sealed envelope with bold "TOP SECRET" stamp... I will probably give that project a miss :P

Enough for now... I will keep you posted on the next challenge I come across or I throw in front of me.