The New Science of Data

Mario Carpo
“The New Science of Data: Simulation, Optimization, and Structural Form-Finding”

While today’s “Big Data” approach to computation is often seen by social scientists as a new form of determinism, in the natural sciences the almost infinite granularity of Big Data computation allows designers to engage with the complexity of matter in unprecedented ways, simulating, modeling, and optimizing the random variations of natural materials and of manual craft. This paper will suggest that a new, post-modern science of data is already replacing the formal methods of modern science, and that a new post-scientific method is already embedded in many of today’s tools for computational design, particularly in the area of structural design.

About the speaker: After studying architecture and history in Italy, Dr Carpo was an Assistant Professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and in 1993 received tenure in France, where he was first assigned to the École d’Architecture de Saint-Etienne, then to the École d’Architecture de Paris-La Villette. He was the Head of the Study Centre at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal from 2002 to 2006, and Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the Yale School of Architecture from 2010 to 2014. Mr. Carpo’s research and publications focus on the relationship among architectural theory, cultural history, and the history of media and information technology. His award-winning Architecture in the Age of Printing (MIT Press, 2001) has been translated into several languages. His most recent books are The Alphabet and the Algorithm (MIT Press, 2011); and The Digital Turn in Architecture, 1992-2012 (Wiley, 2012).