Wallacei is based on research carried out by Mohammed Makki during his Doctoral studies at the Architectural Association under the directorship of Dr. Michael Weinstock. Although the conducted research utilised evolutionary computation as a problem solving tool for design problems, the focus of the research was on the ‘bookends’ of the evolutionary simulation. I.e. what takes place on either side of the evolutionary algorithm; in which the focus was primarily on the formulation of the design problem, analysis of the outputted results and the selection of the optimised solutions.
Through extensive collaboration, Milad Showkatbakhsh, a graduate from the Pratt institute and who was also part of Dr. Weinstock’s PhD group, joined Mohammed in pushing the research forward and publishing the developed tools for others to benefit from. This comprised the first release of Wallacei, and was published in January 2018 as a set of analytic tools that could analyse the data outputted by any evolutionary simulation.
Although the first release was comprised from analytic tools, the greater ambition was for Wallacei to provide users with a fully fledged evolutionary engine, in which the algorithm, analysis and selection can all be conducted within one user interface; and so the Wallacei team started to work on this not long after the release of Wallacei Analytics in early 2018.
Throughout this period, Yutao Song, a graduate from the Architectural Association’s Emergent Technologies and Design Program, as well as a holder of an M.Res. from the Bartlet’s Space Syntax Lab, joined the Wallacei Team for the development and release of Wallacei X, the latest instalment of the Wallacei platform.
What started as a primitive toolset, has evolved into a robust engine for designers of all levels of expertise. The Wallacei team continue to push their research forward with the aim to advance the Wallacei platform to further benefit all users of evolutionary computation in design.
The name ‘Wallacei’ has been chosen in recognition of Alfred Russell Wallace, who among many other titles, was a geographer, naturalist and explorer that independently proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin. The course of history has credited much of evolutionary thought to Charles Darwin (and deservedly so), however, Alfred Wallace has been as much an inspiration and contributor to the theory of evolution that has shaped our understanding of the evolutionary process. As insignificant as it may be, this is our way to pay homage to Wallace’s impact on evolutionary thought.
The Wallacei Platform
Wallacei is an evolutionary engine that allows users to run evolutionary simulations in Grasshopper 3D through utilising highly detailed analytic tools coupled with various comprehensive selection methods to assist users to better understand their evolutionary runs, and make more informed decisions at all stages of their evolutionary simulations; including setting up the design problem, analysing the outputted results and selecting the desired solution or solutions for the final output. Additionally, Wallacei provides users with the ability to select, reconstruct and output any phenotype from the population after completing their simulation.
The free plugin is streamlined to give users efficient access to the data outputted by their evolutionary simulations, and enable clear and efficient methods for analysis and selection – The aim is for users (of all degrees of expertise) to better understand their evolutionary simulations, gain a thorough understanding of the outputted numeric values, and seamlessly extract the optimised data; all within one user interface.
Wallacei X employs the NSGA-2 algorithm (Deb et. al., 2001) as the primary evolutionary algorithm, and utilises the K-means method as the clustering algorithm. Additionally, Wallacei X incorporates the JMetal, LiveCharts and HelixToolkit libraries.
Although Wallacei has been streamlined for Rhino 6, the plugin can also be installed in Rhino 5 (both 64 and 32 bit platforms).
Mohammed Makki graduated from the American University of Sharjah in 2008, where he went on to gain his Masters degree from the Emergent Technologies and Design (Emtech) graduate program at the Architectural Association where he also holds his PhD, gained under the directorship of Dr. Michael Weinstock. Mohammed is the Co-founder of MSSM Associates – an international award-winning interdisciplinary design office with multiple branches in Europe and Asia. Alongside publishing and presenting his work across a multitude of peer reviewed journals and conferences, as well as providing many architectural and computational workshops, Mohammed has taught (and continues to teach) at numerous programs and institutions worldwide at both a graduate and postgraduate level.
Milad Showkatbakhsh holds BSc. in Architectural Engineering from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, and M.Arch. from Pratt institute in New York where he graduated with Sidney Katz award for design excellence in 2015. He is currently a Doctoral candidate at Architectural Association researching under the directorship of Dr. Michael Weinstock. Milad has worked for several architecture and design offices in Tehran, New York and Shanghai. Alongside practicing, he has been a fellow researcher in different computer aided design research projects which were culminated as published papers in peer reviewed journals and conferences, posters and robotically fabricated installations. Milad has been actively teaching in academia in graduate and post graduate courses and international architectural and computational workshops.
Yutao Song gained his second bachelor’s degree in architecture, with distinction and Deans Merit Award, from the University of Dundee in 2011. He went on to the Emergent Technologies and Design program at the Architectural Association for his further study in advanced design technologies in 2014. After two years in practice, he continued his research in Space Syntax Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture and gained his Master of Research in the field. He has participated in a wide range of projects in Europe, Middle East and East Asia. His design methodology involves many experimental design approaches, including online data driven generative design, evolutionary design and evidence based design. He currently works as a consultant in computational design and urban spatial research.