Buklod: Collaborative Morphogenesis

Towards Generative Design via Global Web Services

 

Peter Martin D. Gomez

Ateneo de Manila University

e-mail: martin@decode.ateneo.edu

 

 

Abstract

Buklod is a Filipino word that means bond of union or alliance. In this context, Buklod presents a generic framework for collaborative morphogensis towards generative design.Buklod seeks to extend that same spirit into the world of computational generative design by making it it possible -- and easy -- for people engaged in generative art and design to be able to create stuff that traditionally can only be done in high performance computing environments. By using XML web services, signals are passed from one volunteer node to another in order to stitch sliced-up processes into a single piece of evolving canvas. With this, Buklod seeks to advance contemporary human living through, and by creating, applied evolutionary design in many sectors that isn't available as of yet.

1. Introduction

Buklod (Adobe Systems) is a Filipino word that means bond of union or alliance. In this context, Buklod presents a generic framework for collaborative morphogensis towards generative design. Buklod borrows the concept of the bayanihan, "an old tradition in the Philippines wherein neighbors of a relocating family would help the family move by gathering under their house and carrying it to its new location. Although bayanihan practiced in this form has become rare in todayís modern times, the word bayanihan itself has come to mean any manifestation of the powerful spirit of communal unity that can make seemingly impossible feats possible through the cooperation of many people working towards a common goal." [1]

As that spirit and bond that unites people, Buklod seeks to extend that same spirit into the world of computational generative design by making it it possible -- and easy -- for people engaged in generative art and design to be able to create stuff that traditionally can only be done in high performance computing environments. By using XML web services, signals are passed from one volunteer node to another in order to stitch sliced-up processes into a single piece of evolving canvas.

The Buklod framework is depoloyable on top of both Java and the .NET framework. With this, Buklod will work across platforms where Java is supported. We also see this as an advantage since most of the environments designed for learning computational design are written in Java. These include Padpaper [2], Design By Numbers [3] and Processing [4]. As the author is also engaged in these projects, integrating Buklod would be easier.

2. Architecture

Let †††† A = any client computer on the Internet

††††††††††† B = any server on the Internet

††††††††††† C = ever evolving canvas

Let all Aís be connected to Bís. Each B is interconnected to a list of other Bís via a central list, updated and refreshed regularly. Bís pass signals to Aís in the goal of generating C. C is the sum of all activities of Aís and Bís.

3. Automato

A support project called Automato has also been developed to demonstrate the idea of integrating generative art, web services and volunteer computing into a single interface. An applet that demonstrates this concept can be accessed at http://decode.ateneo.edu/martin/automato.

Integrated are ideas from Auto-Illustrator and the MIT Treehouse Studio. The author basically asks the following questions:

l        Can a computer paint?

l        What if the computer takes control?

l        What if the computer overrides / takes control away from the user?

l        What if the computer overrides the user's creative act?

l        Can the computer in-turn create art? By itself?

l        More importantly, if these systems are "intelligent" enough, can they advance the human condition?

l        How can generative systems be coupled with distributed media such as web-based infrastructures?

l        Can we integrate generative systems and web-services?

l        In the most basic sense, what barebones interface would be best to present this?

4. Applications

Buklod may be applied to several contemporary design problems in urban planning and design, architecture, computational biology including genomics and bioinformatics, and even cartography.

In view of all these, Buklod enables everyone to be able to harness the computational power of several machines working together as one on a global scale in order to create generative design towards solving contempoary problems in areas like the ones mentioned above.

5. References

[1]Sarmenta, L.F.G.S. Volunteer Computing. Ph.D. thesis. Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT, March 2001.

[2] Padpaper. http://www.padpaper.net/

[3] Design By Numbers. http://dbn.media.mit.edu/

[4] Processing. http://www.processing.org/