IAAC and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center join forces to create an urban simulator and promote "the science of making cities"

25 July 2018

The BSC and the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) sign an agreement to implement supercomputing technology to assess the resilience of cities.


Researchers from IAAC and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC) will work on the creation of a digital platform that allows the simulation of cities in order to evaluate any urban plan, project or initiative and thus promote more efficient urban development with positive impact.

With this urban simulator, all the physical processes that are generated in all the layers that make up cities (mobility, energy, water, matter cycles, urban development and physical structure and society relations) will be translated into mathematical algorithms. Based on the study of neural networks and new artificial intelligence systems, the simulator will promote scientific knowledge of cities, their anatomy and urban analysis, while at the same time making it possible to use its research outcomes for the common good.

The technology is based on previous examples of simulators developed by BSC researchers such as "Virtual Heart", a simulator of the human heart that allows to knowing how this organ responds to diseases, medicines and treatments. Now, with the agreement signed with IAAC, the application of supercomputing techniques from life sciences to urban sciences is being transferred with the aim of providing reliable solutions and answers to the challenges facing the cities of the future.

The urban simulator project is part of the urbanization.org initiative, promoted by IAAC together with other international organizations, with the aim of systematizing the knowledge of cities to create tools to improve decision-making in the field of cities. Urbanization.org encompasses projects that range from researching the taxonomy of the world's metropolises where cities and urban fabrics are catalogued as species to mapping the world's public spaces for cities to collaborate, share practices and learn from each other.

The urbanization.org initiative was born last year on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the General Theory of Urbanization authored by Barcelona’s urban planner Ildefons Cerdá. The aim now is to promote the "science of making cities", using the technologies of the 21st-century digital revolution.