Tag Archives: data

Physics of Data Flow

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Last week the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Northern Virginia Chapter (CSI NOVA) welcomed scientists from the NIST Fire Research Lab to give a talk about fire simulations and the new test facility.

NIST’s Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS)

A couple simulations were of just the fires themselves rather than walls, furniture, elevator shafts and other elements that might influence where a fire would move next in a building. The NIST Fire Research lab studies both the effects and relationships of different building materials with fire, and the physics of fire by itself. The physics of fire by itself has some known properties, such as maximum temperatures, and the short SHORT flashover point. The space around a fire is not always needed for better understanding of what a fire is likely to do next.

National Fire Protection Association (2001) from NFPA 1710

Today we have a lot of data moving around the Internet. Behaviors and patterns in the physics of data flow may have properties like maximum temperatures or flashover points in fires.

Ebb and Flow of Box Office Receipts Over the Past 20 Years – at Flowing Data

However it seems like most of these studies only look at the data, rarely the space around. As if the way different areas of the Internet were built, or the composition of various user communities, could influence where data are likely to go next and whether they are likely to spread quickly or slowly smolder. Below is an image about the flow of physics data from CERN, but who is studying the physics of data flow? Or more importantly, structural details about spaces around data, or how more precise configurations might help push relevant information into specific areas that are most conducive to those particular ideas catching on, spreading, and growing… Until at some point, inevitably, even the most gigantic ideas, like fires, will eventually die out. We are still learning about the physics of fire today, the physics of data flow and a better understanding of the life cycle of ideas and information may take many MANY generations of study until the statistics and calculations are relatively accurate, or at least aligned with the unpredictable real world.


Open Standards / Commercial Technology

Benefits of Using the BIMstorm Process and OPS Onuma Planning System to develop Open Standards  

Open standards for building and geospatial information are rapidly changing.  So much is being figured out at the same time its hard to know which of the many parallel tracks will eventually meet in the distance.  For example:

Performance Specifications:  Proprietary versus generic names of things are very tricky ~ the CSI Construction Specification Institute International Framework Dictionary is currently being developed;   

Data Exchange Policies:  Recording brand names, model numbers, and manufacturer’s warranties as performance specifications, designs and data change hands from Architect, to Contractor, to Owner ~ COBIE Construction Operations Building Exchange is currently being developed;  

Building Codes:  Construction type and use group are able to align with building data by facility type and location ~ ICC International Code Council SmartCODES are currently being developed;  

Space Definition Rules:   BOMA calcs and owner program requirements ~ OSCRE Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate are currently being developed;  

Geospatial Coordination: OGC Open Geospatial Consortium has already made a huge impact, open standards continue to be developed with an impressive focus on interoperability amongst the standards themselves;  

Sustainability: Owners, Architects, and Contractors understand how to go for LEEDS points now ~ USGBC US Green Building Council has already made a huge impact, standards and requirements continue to be developed;  

Tools for Public Inquiry:  How can environmental organizations assess their area using USGBC/LEED data, GIS Watershed, BOMA Calcs, SMARTCodes and all the above while OmniClass, MasterFormat, UniFormat and all the words we use are constantly evolving?

BIMstorm and OPS provide an opportunity for non-technical people to like and understand the potential of BIM and open standards in simple ways.  Room Criteria Sheets and Google Earth are OK, regular people can play out a variety of scenarios without liabilities, deadlines, or costs.  It can’t be only technical people who solve these problems.   The main benefit of using the BIMstorm process and OPS is being able to figure out how open standards SHOULD work together with commercial technology.  Open standards need to be vendor neutral, but it takes vendors to help develop these standards along the way.  There is still a tremendous amount of work ahead and true interoperability will never be “done”.  Until then, using the BIMstorm process and OPS provides a unique opportunity to work together towards the same shared end goals.  Can’t get there without using real products and technology.

Deborah L. MacPherson AIA, CSI CCS
Specifications and Research, WDG Architecture PLLC
Projects Director, Accuracy&Aesthetics
NBIMS National Building Information Modeling Standard, Consensus and Model Implementation Guide Task Teams
Member of the buildingSMART alliance


Open Source Lifecycle

Deciding how to develop or acquire open source systems is different than standing in the store looking at software boxes. Open source will continue to develop against a constantly evolving and improving background. If there was a defined open source lifecycle for the construction of open source data and processing techniques, maybe the open source lifecycle could mimic the lifecycle of building construction, occupancy, and upkeep. The tasks and roles are set forth in numbered groups below.



Jerusalem Gold, A Modern Approach to Tradition
by Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik at NiceJewishArtist

1. The Owner – has a holistic goal, a site, and a program. Before engaging an Architect and Contractor, the Owner (which may be a person or organization) defines:

1A – Scope of Work

1B – Payment Procedures (Bid, Negotiated, Manager, No Payment)

1C – Legal Needs

1D – Acquires Property if necessary

1E – Initial Community of Practice Survey in context of their goal

1F – Infrastructure Evaluation and Plans

1G – Assessment of Relevant, Existing Standards

1H – Initial Review of Compliance Procedures

1I – Survey of related government organizations and jurisdictions

1J – Reporting requirements

1K – Presentation and Communication Methods for this project

1L – Logistics, Delivery, Schedule

1M – Goals for Long Term, Slow Change to CoP and their goal


The Persona Lifecycle, Keeping People in Mind During Product Design

2. The Architect/Engineer

2A – Analysis

2B – Design

2C – Ontology

2D – Defines Performance Requirements

2E – Produces a Design that complies with code

2F – Develops Measurable Features

2G – Sets Limits

2H – Defines Controls

2I – Sets Specification Values

2J – System Function – Item Evaluation and Acceptance – Elimination versus Collection

2K – Conflict Resolution Procedures

2L – Corrective Action

2M – Documentation of Error Correction

2N – Approval Process

2O- Permit Review, a milestone set deadline

2P – Integration

2Q – Scheduling and updating fixed, released documents versus live participatory models

2R – Testing and Inspection

2S – Certification Requirements

2T – Workflow

2U – Configuration Selection

2V – Thinking


Life Cycle of a Bug Bugzilla

3. Structural

3A – Change

3B – Parts of a System

3C – Ranking and Classification

3D – Data, Equipment, Structural Modification

3E – Disposition, Effect of Permanent Removal of Previous Support

3F – Impact

3G – Mathematical Work

3H – Prediction of Slow Change and Settling Over Time


Technology Lifecycle Management Phunghi, Inc.

4. Contractor/Manufacturing

4A – Acquires Raw Materials, not property
4B – Purchase, Furnish, and Install

4C – Supply Chain

4D – System of Parts

4E – Physical Process

4F – Geographic Process

4G – Production Process

4H – Transportation

4I – Delivery and Acceptance

4J – As Built Documentation

4K – Activation

4L – Assignment


PR Lifecycle Model, Inoue Public Relations

5. Security vs. Public Systems

5A – Warehouse/Distribution Center

5B – Customer Payment

5C – Selling and Marketing

5D – Open Licensing

5E – Distribution

5F – Release

5G – Lawyer

5H – Comply with Governance Requirements
5I – Press

5J – Documentation

5K – Network Standards

Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT)
Information Systems Audit and Control Association

6. Monitoring

6A – Installation

6B – Audit

6C – Monitor

6D – Feedback and Error Correction

6E – Measure Impact

6F – Operations

6G – Maintenance

6H – Service

6I – User Manuals

6J – System Updates


Stained glass window available from Tenyes Glass

7. Community of Practice (CoP)

7A – Reintegration

7B – Giving

7C – Receiving

7D – Mining

7E – Discovery

7F- Evolution

7G – Slow Change

7H – Communication

7I – Story Telling

7J – Record Keeping

7K – Public Records

7L – Instruct, Learn, Teach, Train

7M – Collect

7N – Generate


The interrelated cycle keeps going until a new owner sets a goal and decides to start a new project, the architect, structural, systems designers, reviewers, contractors, manufacturers, distributors, standards bodies, auditors, and CoP end users begin to implement their special areas of expertise again with more knowledge, better data, and more powerfully connected networks and machines.