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Structural Engineers Association of New York

SEAoNY March Seminar: AI in Structural Engineering

  • 19 Mar 2019
  • 6:15 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place
  • 0


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SEAoNY March Seminar

AI in Structural Engineering

March 19, 2019

6:15 PM - 8:00 PM

Center for Architecture | 536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012

Presented By: Robert K. Otani, PE, Chief Technology Officer, Thornton Tomasetti

Structural engineering is a very old craft and profession and although there have been software advances for analysis and design as well as the advent of Building Information Modeling in the last 15-20 years, the engineering processes have not changed. However, the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will greatly disrupt the conventional engineering practice within the next 10-15 years. We believe that up to 40% of structural engineering can be automated using Artificial Intelligence and many other processes involved with the business of engineering like project management, accounting, and marketing will be at least be augmented by Artificial Intelligence.

In designing structures, there are many mundane and repetitive tasks that engineers are essentially overqualified for. AI can automate those tasks. This allows engineers to spend their time being creative and solving problems. AI can also automate QA/QC since it can find outlier patterns.

Our team has been researching AI and Machine Learning since 2015 and have developed working applications that leverage AI. One application called Asterisk is an optioneering web-based software (alpha stage) that can design a building structure (gravity, lateral, and foundation system) in under one minute and therefore multiple options of column spacing, loading, materiality, and facade systems can be computed to optimize for the most suitable design for the client.

The presentation would include a short history of artificial intelligence as well as an introduction to “Asterisk” as well as discussion of potential future uses of AI in structural engineering and construction processes.

Presenter Bio:

Robert K. Otani, PE LEED AP is Chief Technology Officer at Thornton Tomasetti, Inc., a 1500+ person multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm, and founded the CORE studio, an applications development, advanced computational modeling, and R&D group at his firm. Robert serves as the Advisory Committee for Thornton Tomasetti’s firm wide Research and Development program and Liaison with TTWiiN Inc., an independent entity created by Thornton Tomasetti focused on driving innovation to commercialization of products. He has extensive structural design and project management experience involving commercial, infrastructure, institutional, cultural and residential structures. Over his 25-year career, he has worked on a wide variety of complex projects, including high rise buildings, long-span roof structures, sports arenas, airport terminals, major building structural renovations, complex art projects totaling over $2 billion USD of construction. His professional and academic interests focus on informed architecture relating to optimized structural typologies, high performance structures, and structural sustainability. He has served as President of the Structural Engineers association of New York in 2007 and has been a professor at Pratt Institute School of Architecture since 2008 and Columbia GSAPP since 2009.

l.5 PDH Credits (pending)

Advanced registration closes 5:00pm March 18, 2019

Registration opens at 5:45pm. Seminar begins promptly at 6:15pm

For SEAoNY members, registration is $25 in advance or $35 at the door.

For non-members, registration is $40 in advance or $50 at the door.
For student members, registration is $5.

To avoid the credit card convenience fee, please send us a check. If you would like to bring cash or a check at the day of the event, please let us know by emailing us at

The event will take place at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place.

SEAoNY March Seminar Sponsor



(t) 646.736.0694



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