Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


NEXTGENBIM Report Summary

Project ID: 340753
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Israel


Current building performance models typically used in design and engineering practice are limited in their ability to produce simulations of complex occupancy behaviors. Although agent-based models (ABM) can simulate the behavior of individual actors, as opposed to more simplistic script-based models, the simulated actors tend to exhibit predictable, robot-like behavior. To successfully simulate life-like virtual actors, a practical approach is needed that incorporates a description of actors’ organizational roles and hierarchies, activities involving more than one actor, and adaptability in response to dynamic changes in activity priorities, unplanned events, or non-typical circumstances, such as when an actor is not available to perform a task when expected. A hierarchical Event-Based Model (EBM) is being developed to address these issues. Multi-agent Events can describe social contexts and collaborative activities. The Event Based Model is combined with Operations Research (OR) techniques to coordinate multiple events.

An initial implementation of the EBM system uses the domain of hospital environments as its test-bed. To that extent, we have performed evidence-based observations of activities in several in-patient hospital wards, recording the actors, activities, times, and places of their occurrence during typical hospital days. To better understand the observation, we have developed a 3D visualization mechanism that automatically translates the accumulated data into graphical images. These have been examined and validated by an expert in hospital administration.

In order to account for the dynamically changing environmental and social conditions in the hospital ward, to which the actors must respond, we developed the notion of Data Maps. These GIS-like maps depict graphically and numerically various spatio-social conditions, such as light, sound, congestion, and the semantics of various parts of the ward.

Simulated actors (doctors, nurses, patients, visitors, etc.) perform tasks according to pre-planned schedules (medicine distribution, patient check, patient visiting, etc.), while dynamically responding to social encounters and environmental conditions. In addition, they respond to un-planned events (e.g., “code blue” when a patient is in cardiac distress), and act accordingly.

We have applied the simulation to similar, but slightly different hospital floorplans, to observe changes in actors’ behavior. Specifically, we compared single-patient room layout to multi-patient room layout, with/without day-rooms. While still in development, the evolving simulation has shown that multi-patient rooms cause more visitor traffic in the corridors, compared to single-patient rooms, probably due to the reduced privacy conditions in multi-patient rooms. This enhanced corridor traffic causes (according to the simulation) more encounters with the medical staff, which leads to distraction, delays, and possibly errors. We are validating the simulated results through evidence-based observations in hospital wards.

The development of an Event-Based model for simulating building in use will lead to specific recommendations which will help designers and engineers to improve building performance using simulations that anticipate the complexities of actors’ behavior.

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