AAAI 2011 Spring Symposium
Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Design

March 21 to 23, 2011 at Stanford University, California

See the Program

With participant support provided by the National Science Foundation (IIS 1106480)


AI has provided computational approaches to design processes and the representation of design knowledge. Design of materials, products, buildings and other artifacts have long been a focus of artificial intelligence research and application. Artificial intelligence representations and reasoning models have been influenced and inspired by design cognition resulting in AI methods as the basis for computer-aided design and decision support in many contexts. ‘Design for X’ has become a way of changing design thinking so that downstream concerns are considered early in the design process.

Imperatives for environmental and societal sustainability are challenging designers to think beyond Design for X and more broadly to consider factors that had been previously given little attention. Life cycle costs should be considered along many dimensions, including energy requirements during manufacture and use phases, and material loss and environmental damage at the end of a product’s life. In fact, a long-term vision for the field of AI and sustainable design is cradle-to-cradle design, so that products are not designed to be thrown away or recycled in very limited ways, but products are designed and built that enables full reuse, with nothing thrown out and nothing degraded.

Our presumption is that the increased complexity of design necessitated by a desire for very long-term planet sustainability requires application of and advances in artificial intelligence. AI and design is established already, with conferences and journals. The purpose of this symposium is to focus on the challenges of sustainable design and the role that AI plays in achieving sustainability.

Invited Speakers

Alice Agogino, Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering University of California at Berkeley, Distributed AI and Sustainable Design: Smart Products for the Smart Grid

Kirstin Gail, Product Manager, Autodesk, Sustainable Laptop Design


Paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • AI applications in sustainable design of chemicals, materials, products, appliances, buildings, communities, etc.
  • Computational and cognitive models of sustainable-design thinking.
  • Biologically-inspired and evolutionary models of sustainable design.
  • Collaborative design and collective intelligence for sustainable design.
  • Games and simulation for teaching and embedding sustainable design.

    Virtual Participation

    This Symposium intends to support virtual participation for a limited number of participants using internet-based virtual technology. Please inform the co-chairs by email as early as possible if you would like to be considered for virtual participation. Go here for details.


    Douglas Fisher, Vanderbilt University, USA
    Mary Lou Maher, University of Maryland, College Park, USA

    Program Committee

    David Brown, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
    Janet Burge, Miami University, USA
    Mark Clayton, Texas A&M University, USA
    Bauke de Vries, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
    Alex Duffy, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
    Maria Fox, University of Strathclyde, Scotland
    Ashok Goel, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
    John Haymaker, Stanford University, USA
    Yong Se Kim, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea
    Mark Klein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
    Yu-Tung (Aleppo) Liu, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
    Panos Papalambros, University of Michigan, USA
    Ashish Sabharwal, Cornell University, USA
    Jami Shah, Arizona State University, USA
    Ram Sriram, National Institue of Standards and Technology, USA
    Robert Stone, Oregon State University, USA
    Rudi Stoufs, Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands
    William Tomlinson, University of California Irvine, USA
    Brian Williams, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

    Submission Information

    Submissions can be position statements, work in progress, or completed work. The length of submissions is 6-8 pages in AAAI format as specified on their web site. Acceptance to prepare a submission will be based on the review of an extended abstract up to 1000 words.

    To encourage graduate student participation, we also invite advanced PhD students to submit thesis position papers.

    Important Dates

    October 8 Abstracts due (submit at
    November 12 Acceptance/rejection notices mailed
    January 21 Final submissions due on AAAI web site
    February 4 Registration deadline
    March 21-23 Spring Symposium Series, Stanford University

    For general information regarding the AAAI Spring Symposium Series please see

    AAAI Symposium on AI and Design for Sustainability Homepage