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Key Learning

Key Learning

  • Discover larger trends in digital practice
  • Discover the potential impact of computational literacy education and impacts on the future of design
  • Learn about real-world applications for design computation workflows.
  • Learn how to identify opportunities for design computation in new and traditional workflows.



Now in its eighth year, the Design Computation Symposium is one of the premier events at Autodesk University.  This year we are broadening the reach of the half-day symposium with the theme: “Ubiquitous Computing: How Computing Is Being Made More Accessible.”  Writing code has traditionally been the realm of computer nerds and scientists.  Today, high-school, middle school, and even elementary school students are learning programming. With the rise of STE(A)M in education and the teaching of Computational Literacy in schools, how is the world changing and what will this current generation come to expect out of design tools in the near future? Mobile devices and new ways of programming are opening up the world of computing to more people.  Instant feedback allows this expanded group of programmers to test their solutions instantly and create better tools. With computational resources that are easier to access, the focus can change from how to write code correctly to what kinds of problems can we solve, which problems are worth solving, and how well can we solve them?  Come hear fascinating stories from inventors, entrepreneurs, architects, and academics about how they are enabling more people to leverage design computation in inspiring ways.

Target Audience

Target Audience

Architects and designers who are interested in computational design, design practice leaders interested in the future of design, or anyone interested in inspiring stories of new ways to democratize and leverage computational design to solve interesting problems.



Lilli Smith

Lilli Smith (AIA) is an architect with passion for re-envisioning the way buildings are designed.  Lilli is an experience designer with the AEC Generative Design group at Autodesk and curated this year’s Design Computation Symposium.  

Phil Bernstein

Phil Bernstein is responsible for leading a team that sets the company’s future vision and strategy for technology as well as cultivating and sustaining the firm’s relationships with strategic industry leaders and associations.  Prior to joining Autodesk, Phil practiced architecture as a principal at Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects where he managed many of the firm’s most complex commissions. Phil has taught at the Yale School of Architecture as a Lecturer in Professional Practice since 1988.  Phil writes and lectures extensively about practice and technology issues.  He  will kick off the symposium and introduce the topic and the speakers.


David Gilford

David Gilford is Senior Director of Client Strategy at Intersection, a technology and media company that aims to redefine the urban experience. David leads Intersection’s Connected Communities practice, helping municipalities, real estate developers, and public-private partnerships create connected, responsive communities. He guides clients as they envision new experiences, develop comprehensive plans, and implement technology to unlock new sources of revenue, reduce costs, and improve the quality of life in mixed-use environments. He previously held leadership positions with the City of New York, developing UrbanTech NYC to support fast-growing companies addressing urban challenges. David frequently lectures on urban innovation, sustainability, and smart cities, including programs at Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Valentin Heun

Valentin Heun is a PhD candidate and research assistant at MIT Media Lab, where his research focuses on new computer interaction metaphors for the physical space. He is interested in transferring benefits from our shared digital experiences to our physical reality. He has been interviewed by online media outlets such as Fast Company, Vice, Verge, Wired, Core77, PSFK, the Daily Dot, Stylepark, Makezine and Boston Globe; received the 2012 SIGGRAPH Asia Emerging Technologies Prize, was awarded by Wired UK to the Smart List 2013,  Postscapes 2016 Editors Choice Award for IoT Software & Tools, a finalist for the Fast Company’s 2016 Innovation by Design Award and his work was named by Fast Company as Boldest Ideas in User Interface Design 2015. Currently, he is using his interdisciplinary design and engineering skills to build tools that empower designers. His talk is titled:  “The Reality Editor: An Open and Universal Tool for Understanding and Controlling the Connected World.”


Rajaa Issa

Rajaa Issa is a member of the Rhinoceros 3D development team with special focus on the field of architectural geometry, solid modeling, parametric design and the rationalization and paneling of complex surfaces. Her recent work at Newschool of Architecture and Design in San Diego involves developing a curriculum that uses computation and digital fabrication as an integral part of the design process in architecture. She organized and co-chaired the first New School Symposium in Computational Design in the Fall of 2015 where she published a case study of her teaching methodology in a paper titled “Essential Education for Computational Design in Architecture”.  Her professional work as software developer at Robert McNeel & Associates involves developing intuitive tools to help model and rationalize NURBS geometry. She created a number of architectural and parametric plug-ins including PanelingTools for Rhino and Grasshopper. She also authored a number of papers and manuals including the “Essential Mathematics of Computational Design”. Her talk is titled: “Bits and bytes in Architecture.”


Matt Jezyk

Matt Jezyk is the senior product line manager for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) conceptual design products at Autodesk, Inc. He has been in the AEC industry for 20 years and was one of the original architects on Revit software. Jezyk’s group develops new applications like Vasari software, the Dynamo extension, and FormIt software.

Fred Martin

Fred G Martin is  a professor of Computer Science and Director of Student Success for the College of Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML). Martin is a leader in K-12 Computer Science education policy work in Massachusetts and nationally. In 2014, Martin launched CS Pathways (, an NSF-funded collaboration with the school districts of Everett and Medford, MA. Based on MIT App Inventor, the project brings computer science education to middle school students. Students learn computing by making mobile apps for social good — building community and sharing personal passions. This has engaged students who are traditionally underrepresented in computing.  His research group develops and studies novel computational environments for learning.  His  talk title is “Empowering middle schoolers to create data-rich community apps.”


Martha Tsigkari

Martha Tsigkari is a Partner and a member of the Applied Research and Development (ARD) group at Foster + Partners. She is a specialist in a wide range of areas including Performance-driven Design and Optimisation, Interfaces & Interaction, Design-to-production and Fast Feedback & Integration. Her work incorporates the development of simulation tools, the introduction of integrated processes and the creation of physical interfaces. She has provided solutions for hundreds of diverse projects such as the new airport for Mexico City, Lusail Iconic Stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the new metro stations for Jeddah, UAE’s 2015 Expo Pavilion, the Sheikh Zayed Museum and YachtPlus Boat Fleet. She is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a tutor at UCL and a juror at AA. She has taught, lectured and published on the subjects of BIM, parametric and algorithmic design internationally.  


Ryan Welch

Ryan Welch is an associate at KieranTimberlake, a prominent architecture firm established in 1984 and a leader in practice-based architectural research and innovative buildings. As a member of the firm’s trans-disciplinary research group, he focuses on building performance modeling and simulation, primarily through the development of digital tools that provide rapid quantitative and visual feedback early in the design process. His projects include Tally®, a custom LCA application for Revit that allows architects to calculate the environmental impacts of their building material choices; and Pointelist™, a low-cost building sensor suite. Together with his colleague Billie Faircloth, Ryan has taught workshops in thermodynamics at Harvard GSD, University of Minnesota, and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and he is presently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.  His talk is titled: “Near Future Practices”.




  • 2016
  • DP23097
  • AU Las Vegas


  • Architecture Services
  • Construction Services


  • Learning and Development Practice
  • Software Development