4.580
Inquiry into Computation and Design

Required of: 
SMArchS

This subject explores the varied nature and practice of computation in design – in particular, the ways in which design meaning, intentions, and knowledge are constructed through sensing, thinking, representing, and making computationally. It is also an introduction to the different research and perspectives within the Computation Group in the Department of Architecture.

We will consider the notion of computation broadly to include computing done by machine as well computing done by hand. A question serving as backdrop for our discussions is: What makes design a unique computational domain? We will consider what aspects of design and designing are possible, useful, or desirable to compute or automate, and why.

The aim of the course is for students to develop a view of computation and design apart from the specifics of tools and skills, and a critical understanding of some of the history of ideas leading to work today.

This course also provides an introduction to academic research, in particular, to the structure and elements of a good research paper. Students will practice reading and responding to academic papers on topics introduced in class.