ITcon Vol. 17, pg. 258-270,

An ontology-based system to support agent-based simulation of building use

revised:July 2012
published:September 2012
editor(s):Bhzad Sidawi and Neveen Hamza
authors:Davide Simeone
Sapienza University of Rome

Antonio Fioravanti
Sapienza University of Rome
summary:The prediction and evaluation of future building response to its intended use and users is acomplex task that designers have to face during the design process. As matter of fact, few methods exist thatcan help designers in such task, despite its importance in the definition of the building quality; norms andregulations, personal designer’s experience, post-occupancy evaluation have shown their limit to providepredictive models of the complex phenomenon of human behaviour in built environments . With the increasing ofcomputing power, virtual simulation techniques have been introduced in building design to control, manage andpredict complex systems of building performances such as its energy or structural behaviour, but not torepresentation of buildings while-in-use. The Agent-Based Modelling and Simulation (ABMS) paradigm hasbeen applied in building design to simulation of specific aspects of human behaviour and in specific occurrences(for instance in fire egress simulations), while a more extensive representation of users actions, behaviours, andactivities is still missing. In order to overcome this lack, in this paper we propose to support agent-basedsimulation with a knowledge base, developed by means of ontologies and able to provide a structured system ofdata about human-building interaction, useful as start hypotheses for Agent-based Simulation. For itsdevelopment, we rely on the general template of building knowledge management already proposed by theresearch group (Carrara et al., 2009), extending it to representation of the whole system users-builtenvironment. The proposed general template, configured by the meaning – properties – rules structure, allowsthe formalization of users/agents entities, whose parameter, attributes and behavioural rules can encodeseveral ‘aspects’ of real users and their interactions with the other entities (building components, furniture,other people) in a built environment. Currently, a first application has been developed dealing with the virtuallytesting of a small hospital ward, in order to evaluate the reliability and the potentiality of such approach.
keywords:Building performances prediction, Human behaviour simulation, Agent-based modelling, Ontology-based systems
full text: (PDF file, 0.658 MB)
citation:Davide Simeone, Antonio Fioravanti (2012). An ontology-based system to support agent-based simulation of building use, ITcon Vol. 17, Special issue CAAD and innovation, pg. 258-270,