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Category: Civil Engineering

AI based early stage design support for efficient buildings

Sjonnie Boonstra developed AI techniques and optimization technology to support building designers in making influential decisions. Credit: Eindhoven University of Technology The construction, exploitation, and demolition of buildings make up for about 40% to 60% of the total energy and resource expenditure in Europe. It goes without saying that improving the material and energy efficiency in the built environment will be very beneficial with respect to societal challenges like climate change, environmental pollution, and resource depletion. With the help of…

Czech sculptor creates 3D-printed floating house

Workers check over the 3D construction, which is being printed from special concrete and is due to float down the river Vltava in August A Czech sculptor has teamed up with a group of architects to create a 3D-printed house prototype that could become a holiday home for the future. The house is being printed from special concrete in the southern Czech city of Ceske Budejovice and is planned to float on the Vltava river in Prague in August. “I…

What is Auxiliary Engineering? – Wayfair Tech Blog

If you work in software, this might sound familiar to you: an engineering team has been tasked with designing and building a large, highly visible product or system from the ground up. The team is mostly made up of newer engineers with less institutional knowledge, and the tech lead doesn’t have much experience in this particular domain. However, there’s a senior engineer with domain knowledge and some temporary availability. What’s the most effective way they can help? Here’s how this…

Rebuilding messaging: How we designed our new system

Our new system created a single centralized copy of each message in a conversation, regardless of the number of participants Key requirementsWhat might not be obvious from the above list is the critical role of custom business logic during the migration process. The existing system had a significant amount of code that was only required for a single use-case. We ended up creating nearly 60 separate converters for custom pieces of business logic that had been built into the old…

Report details best practices for concentrating solar power

Contractors work to install pipe at a solar thermal facility. Credit: Dennis Schroeder, NREL So you want to build a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. Have you developed a technical specification that clearly defines the key project requirements? Does your team have the relevant experience and knowledge to successfully deploy a CSP project? Have you designed your plant for the daily start-ups and transient conditions it will experience? Have you planned appropriately to prepare and mobilize your O&M team to…

High Availability Load Balancers with Maglev

Background We run many backend services that power our customer dashboard, APIs, and features available at our edge. We own and operate physical infrastructure for our backend services. We need an effective way to route arbitrary TCP and UDP traffic between services and also from outside these data centers. Previously, all traffic for these backend services would pass through several layers of stateful TCP proxies and NATs before reaching an available instance. This solution worked for several years, but as…

Three 2020 Predictions for LPWAN and IoT

Fabric-based architectures provide cloud providers with a platform to build extremely large computational solutions. Gen-Z is on the forefront of this wave. I spoke with Tim Symons, Associate Technical Fellow at Microchip and the Gen-Z Consortium Marketing Workgroup Co-Chair, about the architecture and the consortium. Tim Symons What is Gen-Z technology? Gen-Z is an open-systems fabric-based architecture designed to interconnect processors, memory devices, and accelerators. The fabric enables resource provisioning and sharing to support a diverse range of applications and…

Cut Out the Noise: Dealing with Magnetic Interference

A while ago, I covered a glossary of terms you would need to know related to sensors, including their requirements, calibration, output vectors, and more. I’d like to take it a step further and discuss the most common question I get about sensors and how to work around it: Usually it’s something like, “I want to use the magnetometer, but I’m not sure how to deal with magnetic interference.” Sensor Refresh: The Basics For the purposes of this discussion, let’s…

UtahFS: Encrypted File Storage

Encryption is one of the most powerful technologies that everyone uses on a daily basis without realizing it. Transport-layer encryption, which protects data as it’s sent across the Internet to its intended destination, is now ubiquitous because it’s a fundamental tool for creating a trustworthy Internet. Disk encryption, which protects data while it’s sitting idly on your phone or laptop’s hard drive, is also becoming ubiquitous because it prevents anybody who steals your device from also being able to see…

Engineering Ethics Blog: The Danger of Deepfakes

A recent article on the Forbes website shows photos of four fairly normal-looking faces:  two young women, a more mature woman, and a man.  Thing is, none of these people exist.  The faces are composites made with artificial-intelligence (AI) technology that produces what are called deepfakes:  fictitious images that only sophisticated specialists armed with software can tell from the real thing, and sometimes they can’t even tell either.  Deepfakes aren’t limited to still pictures.  Another example the article cited was…