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Crowd-Simulating Software Could Improve Building Design

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Crowds in mall

Photo courtesy of The Engineer (U.K.)

New crowd simulation software could help architects better understand how the design of buildings impacts the way people move through them.

A team from Bath and Bournemouth universities is working with engineering consultancy Buro Happold to develop the software, which will use artificial intelligence to model how crowds move. Crowds will be modeled as a group of many individual agents rather than a single mass of people. They will be rendered in a believable way, from both a wide-angle and a close-up view, to make individuals appear realistic and show how their movements affect the rest of the group. The computerized people will be given a destination and a range of actions to choose from but will be left to determine their own route, partly based on data gathered from observing real crowds.

"Our challenge is to work out what we can throw away from the sophisticated model and still get plausible-looking behavior when we've got a large number of individuals," says Bath researcher and project supervisor Julian Padget.

From The Engineer (United Kingdom)
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