Since starting up back in 2013, the AEC Hackathon team has organised 43 in-person events in various cities around the world. This year being “special”, they’ve taken the plunge and set up a couple of online events, the first was held from July 6th-26th while the second will be held from October 9th-25th.
I was on holiday for the first two weeks of the July event, so could only really participate by presenting a topic during the final week.
As I was a bit late to the game – and had quite a bit of work to catch up on after a couple of weeks off – I didn’t end up engaging much in this particular event. From what I can tell things went well, despite the odd unavoidable hiccough that’s inevitable when transitioning from physical to virtual.
I didn’t even have much contact with the organisers, other than chatting with Damon Hernandez as he introduced my presentation. It’s always a huge pleasure to see Damon, even if just via Zoom.
From Autodesk’s side, Philipp Mueller took the lead role in herding the various Autodesk cats, while the Developer Advocacy and Support team spent a lot of time helping out with Forge-related issues (particular Jaime Rosales, Petr Broz, Michael Beale, Augusto Goncalves and Adam Nagy, but quite possibly others, too). I know Shaan Hurley is a big advocate of the event, and was definitely involved at some level.
Phil and Jaime also helped judge the various entries:
Something I’ve been heartened to see over the course of a number of recent Forge Accelerators and AEC Hackathons is the increased adoption of Forge for the visualisation of “Digital Twins”, which definitely validates our focus on this area. For instance, one of the winning entries in the Copenhagen Hackathon from earlier in the year was on exactly this theme, and the winner of this event’s “Best BIM 360 project” was along similar lines.
I was very intrigued by the BIM-to-DEVS project coming out of Carleton University’s Advanced Real Time Data Simulation Lab supervised by Professor Gabriel Wainer: the main goal was to use Forge to display the results of some Discrete Event Simulation (DEVS) results. My colleague, Rhys Goldstein – a huge proponent of the use of DEVS as a simulation framework – made me aware of their efforts before they’d even started. That said, I didn’t really check in on the project until they had already finished and been awarded their prize (Michael Beale was apparently the main person helping them with their Forge-related questions).
The BIM-to-DEVS team used a slightly differently technique to Dasher’s to visualise the results – they rendered a point cloud rather than shading a volume – but there are a lot of similarities in terms of their overall approach.
We’ve talked a lot about how we’ll eventually solve this for displaying simulation results inside Dasher, and this kind of approach is certainly one we’ll consider (as opposed to – or in addition to – stuffing the results into the time-series database to visualise from there).
Here’s a video showing their process:
Congratulations to all the participants, winners, supporters and organisers of this ground-breaking online Hackathon!
I have a feeling that we’ll end up seeing a mix of virtual and physical as we move into 2021: it’s great to have in-person events, but the reach afforded by going virtual is so much larger. I’m looking forward to participating in both October’s online event and next year’s in-person event in Zurich!