Announcing BCNM's Fall 23 Conference Grant Recipients

01 Nov, 2023

Announcing BCNM's Fall 23 Conference Grant Recipients

The Berkeley Center for New Media is thrilled to provide small grants to our graduate students to help them share their innovative research at the premiere conferences in their field. We look forward to seeing the work of these students spread across the globe!

Xinwei Zhuang

2023 Conference on Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture

Encoding Urban Ecologies: Automated Building Archetype Generation through Self-Supervised Learning for Energy Modeling

As the global population and urbanization expand, the building sector has emerged as the predominant energy consumer and carbon emission contributor. The need for innovative Urban Building Energy Modeling grows, yet existing building archetypes often fail to capture the unique attributes of local buildings and the nuanced distinctions between different cities, jeopardizing the precision of energy modeling. This paper presents a novel tool employing self-supervised learning to distil complex geometric data into representative, locale-specific archetypes. This disruption of established practices invites new connections with constructed surroundings, embedding local factors to perform catered energy simulation. These archetypes improve the precision and applicability of urban-scale energy estimation across multi-scale building stock. This tool presents a promising solution to bridge bio-digital relationships, prompts exploration of emerging local ecologies from environmental displacement, and envisions a future intertwining-built environments with our planetary interests and collective imagination.

William Morgan

Intersections of Finance and Society Conference 2023

The Dragon, the Witch and the Juggernaut: A Story of Cybernetics and Modern Finance.

Present political systems are currently undergoing profound transformations in how their communication infrastructures are able to parse uncertainties, especially potential threats. These transformations are, I argue, occurring first within the space of finance and trickling out thereafter and they are best understood according to a cybernetic framework.

When in 1950, Norbert Wiener first published The Human Use of Human Beings to discuss the social implications of the field, cybernetics what spurred his writing was that what had begun as a scientific inquiry into an analogy between organic beings and machines (both process information through feedback based learning in order to negate entropy and maintain homeostasis), had, in part through massive wartime funding, begun to take on a much role as socio-political ideology. As statecraft changed in the latter half of the twentieth century from the management of bodies in preparation for battle to the management of information in pursuit of profit, cybernetics and its cousin, information theory saw their stars rise and in 1963, the Harvard political scientist Karl Deutsch published the under-read, The Nerves of Government setting down a foundation for formal political theoretical research to be carried out using the cybernetic-information theory toolkit.

In the following two decades, cybernetics fell out of fashion and Deutsch’s model was left undeveloped. In dispatching with the language cybernetics, what was, until very recently, buried in time was how cybernetic thinking informs a great deal of current technological, socio-political and economic realities.

With finance the re-discovery of cybernetics lags work in other fields such as Eden Medina’s on Project Cybersyn and Chilean central planning, or Benjamin Peters and the BESM and Soviet Computing or Nicholas de Monchaux’s on spacesuits and the Apollo program. The fact that cybernetics has not been surfaced in the history of finance is not for its lack of appearing. Perhaps most notably, Friedrich Hayek, who is considered one of the chief intellectual avatars of contemporary neoliberalism, was, especially towards the latter half of his life, extremely indebted to cybernetic ways of thinking. The existence, not to mention the importance of Hayek’s cybernetics has for the most part been overlooked. For example, the idea that Hayek’s theorization of the price discovery process, upon which the modern economy rests and which has undergone new developments in the last 30 years, is in fact conceived in a cybernetic manner has enormous implications for how we understand the function of finance today. This paper seeks therefore to first revive the influence of cybernetics on the architecture of modern finance first by reviving it in the story of said system’s intellectual foundations, namely Hayek. Following this, this paper briefly gestures towards a theory of a cyberneticized vision of contemporary financial practices by re-visiting Deutsch’s cybernetic political theory.

Haripriya Sathyanarayanan

ANFA: Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture

EDRA: Showcasing Intersections of Research & Art from EDRA to ANFA

This is a keynote presented as a team. I am presenting my research "Pediatric patient room design using immersive technology and biofeedback"

Alexis Wood

(NACIS) North American Cartographic Information Society

Erosion As Method(ology): Theorizing and Mapping Structures of Feeling

How might we map the coalescence of ruralities, climate change, and digitalities in northern California's state secessionist movements? Using the theoretical foundations of Raymond Williams' concept, “structures of feeling,” I argue for a critical cartographic representation of physical and sociopolitical process through the methodological frame of erosion and deposition. This experimental approach to theorizing and mapping this region allows both material and metaphorical investigation of the transfigurations of the physical, social, and digital, not only within themselves but between one another through common processes across spatiotemporal scales.

Elnaz Bailey

Generative Art

InsightXR: Operative Generative Design in Augmented Reality

This paper introduces InsightXR, an augmented reality (AR) application for early-stage massing studies in architecture. InsightXR uses a novel operative generative design algorithm using Non-Dominated Sorting Genetic Algorithm II (NSGA-II) in the Pymoo framework. To test InsightXR’s capabilities, a case study is introduced to generate 3D design alternatives in real-time for a mixed-use project located in San Francisco, USA. Design objectives explored in this paper are Roof and Best Oriented Surfaces (RBOS), Usable Open Space (UOS), and Area Violation (AV). Design alternatives are generated for 5 generations and visualized in InsightXR. In the future, interactive optimization processes can be used to generate subjectively desirable design options based on users' interactive feedback.

Dongho Shin

CHI 2024

VocabBuilder: Collaborative AI-Driven Mnemonics for Enhanced Language Learning

This study introduces VocabBuilder, an innovative system that integrates advanced text and image generation technologies to facilitate the creation and personalization of mnemonics. This research, involving 35 participants, aimed to explore how individuals engage with AI in generating personalized mnemonics, as well as to examine the intrinsic qualities, emotional appeal, and aesthetic aspects of these co-created mnemonics. Participants utilized VocabBuilder to develop mnemonics for language learning, subsequently assessing both the mnemonics and the system itself. Results indicated that users often drew inspiration from AI-suggested keywords, combining these with their own ideas. The mnemonics that were collaboratively produced with AI assistance were found to be highly memorable, original, and congruent with the intended meanings of the vocabulary words. This paper contributes insights and recommendations for the development of AI-assisted mnemonic-creation tools.