MSc CS Artem Chirkin


Artem Chirkin has graduated a double-degree programme in Computational Science at University of Amsterdam and ITMO University, Saint-Petersburg before coming to ETH. His MSc research project aimed at forecasting the execution time of complex scientific applications in heterogeneous environment using Machine Learning and Statistics methods.

Artem’s doctoral thesis title:
Evaluating Symmetry and Order in Urban Design
A computational approach to predicting perception of order based on analysis of design geometry

Artem Chirkin aims at establishing a link between computable symmetry and perception of order in the context of an urban design. In his work, he uses computational methods in an attempt to measure symmetry featured in the design geometry. At the same time, he employs statistical methods to predict the human perception of the design orderliness. Then, he combines the developed symmetry measures and the orderliness rankings in a machine learning model to analyze the relation between the two.

To facilitate his research and support other educational and research projects, Artem Chirkin develops Quick Urban Analysis Kit (qua-kit). Qua-kit is a web platform for simple urban design editing, sharing, and discussion. Qua-kit is integrated into a series of massive open online courses (MOOCs) called Future Cities, which is developed by the chair of Information Architecture. Qua-kit serves our students as an educational tool and serves us as a source of thousands of urban design submissions available for analysis.
The live version of qua-kit is available at

Artem’s research work and development of qua-kit are a part of ADvISE project, which is funded by SNSF (Project IZLRZ1_164056).

HS2015 | Information Architecture and Future Cities: Smart Cities

What will happen when cities change from static configurations into responsive and dynamic structures? What does it mean for buildings that undergo the same changes? What is the impact on architectural and urban design education? How can citizens influence this development? The Smart Cities course will answer these questions and supply you with the necessary skills and knowledge to understand and design such dynamic structures. The intelligent use of data and information are at the core of this course. Data and information are new building materials of future cities. Citizens produce increasing amounts of data in their daily life, with stationary sensors and mobile smartphones. Using those data, citizens begin to influence the design of future cities and the re-design of existing ones. The course will be a first step towards the emerging citizen design science and cognitive design computing. Those will be the next generation of participatory design and design computing.

Where: HIT H 31.4 (Video wall)
When: Mondays 13:00 – 14:00



Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmitt

Danielle Griego

Flyer_HS_Future Cities

HS 13 Information Architectur of Cities IBook

HS2015 | Digital Urban Simulation

In this course students analyze architectural and urban design using current computational methods. Based on these analyses the effects of planning can be simulated and understood.

An important focus of this course is the interpretation of the analysis and simulation results and the application of these corresponding methods in early planning phases.

The students learn how the design and planning of cities can be evidence based by using scientific methods. The teaching unit convey knowledge in state-of-the-art and emerging spatial analysis and simulation methods and equip students with skills in modern software systems. The course consists of lectures, associated exercises, workshops as well as of one integral project work.

HIT H 31.4 (Video wall)

Flyer_HS_Digital Urban Simulation


Teaching material is provided on moodle.


Dr. Reinhard König

Estefania Tapias


Guest Lecture 10/09/2015 – PROFESSOR YEHUDA Kalay

Prof. Yehuda Kalay, Technion / Israel Institute of Technology


Monday, 10th Sept. at 17:00
HIT H 31.2 (ETH campus Hönggerberg) 



Current building models, including BIM, support only evaluations based on physical and material characteristics of the building. They do not support evaluation of the impact a building will have on life and activities of users. The talk presents research that aims to remedy that shortcoming by developing a comprehensive building modeling method, which will allow simulation of human behaviour in future buildings, thus help designers and their clients make better decisions about the future product.


Yehuda Kalay has been Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, since October 2010, and holder of the Henry and Merilyn Taub Academic Chair.

Prior to assuming the deanship at the Technion, for 18 years he was professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-founded and directed the Berkeley Center for New Media. Prior to his tenure at Berkeley, for 10 years Professor Kalay taught in the department of architecture at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Professor Kalay holds B.Arch and MSc degrees in Architecture from the Technion, and PhD from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA). He is a founding member and past president of ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture), and former co-Editor-in-Chief of Automation in Construction, an international refereed journal (Elsevier, UK). He is a licensed architect in the State of Israel.

Kalay’s research focuses on digital and collaborative design. He has published more than 100 scholarly papers and eight books, the most recent of which are: Collaborative Working Environments for Architectural Design, with Prof. Carrara of the University of Rome, Italy (Palombi, 2009); New Heritage: Cultural Heritage and New Media (Routledge, 2008), with Prof. Kvan of the University of Melbourne, Australia; and Architecture’s New Media (MIT, 2004).

MOOC II Livable Future Cities

MOOC — Livable Future Cities START: 23.September 2015 —

About the course:

“Livable Future Cities” is the second Massive Urban Online Course in a series of MOOCS under the title “Future Cities”. The series aims to bring the latest research results on planning, managing and transforming cities to those places in the world where this knowledge has the highest benefit for its citizens. Whereas “Future Cities I” provided an overview, “Livable Future Cities” focuses on livability in existing and new cities.

With the city developing into the predominant living and working environment of humanity, livability or quality of life in the city becomes crucial. We present the urban system as the most complex human-made organism with a metabolism that we model in terms of stocks and flows: flows are entities that change over time, such as building material as it enters the city, water as it streams into the city for use, or finances as they flow into an urban development area; stocks are entities that have a relatively stable condition over a period of time: houses made of building material, urban bodies of water such as lakes, or finances in a bank account; of course, all these stocks can change into flows again: building materials used for recycling, treated water leaving the city, or finances flowing into the next investment.

The dynamic development of cities includes many more of these stocks and flows, but all of them have a direct impact on livability. For a start, the course will focus on 4 areas that directly affect livability in a city: urban energy, urban climate, urban ecology and urban mobility. Urban energy covers the production, distribution and use of energy in the city; urban climate describes interdependencies between location, urban energy, urban morphology and the heat island effect; urban ecology explains the role of ecosystem services; and urban mobility links public and private transportation to the above.

The course begins by presenting measurable criteria for the assessment of livability, and how to positively influence the design of cities towards more livability. “Livable Future Cities” focuses on this basic topic of the human habitat in a holistic way. “Livable Future Cities” also introduces possibilities of participatory urban design by citizens, leading towards the development of a citizen design science.

You will be able to share your experiences with the other participants in the course and also with the experts in the teaching team. With the successful completion of the course, including a certificate, the participant will be able to better understand how to make a city more livable by going beyond the physical appearance and by focusing on different properties and impact factors of the urban system.

Welcome to Livable Future Cities!

Swiss MOOC on Livable Future Cities

L10 – Endbesprechung. Final Discussion.

2015-04-27/  HIT H 31.4

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmitt and Dr. Alexander Erath/ L10 – Endbesprechung. Final Discussion. 



MOOC I Future Cities

About the course:

Understanding a city as a whole, its people, components, functions, scales and dynamics, is crucial for the appropriate design and management of the urban system. While the development of cities in different parts of the world is moving in diverse directions, all estimations show that cities worldwide will change and grow strongly in the coming years. Especially in the tropics over the next 3 decades, it is expected that the number of new urban residents will increase by 3 times the population of Europe today. Yet already now, there is an extreme shortage of designers and urban planners able to understand the functioning of a city as a system, and to plan a sustainable and resilient city. To answer questions like: Which methods can contribute to the sustainable performance of a city, and how can we teach this to the next generations, the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore has produced over the last 3 years many necessary research results. “Future Cities” aims to bring these latest results to the places where they are needed most.

The only way to better understand the city is by going beyond the physical appearance and by focusing on different representations, properties and impact factors of the urban system. For that reason, in this course we will explore the city as the most complex human-made “organism” with a metabolism that can be modeled in terms of stocks and flows. We will open a holistic view on existing and new cities, with a focus on Asia. Data-driven approaches for the development of the future city will be studied, based on crowdsourcing and sensing. At first, we will give an overview of the components and dynamics of the future cities, and we will show the importance of information and information architecture for the cities of the future. The course will cover the origins, state-of-the-art and applications of information architecture and simulation. “Future Cities” will provide the basis to understand, shape, plan, design, build, manage and continually adapt a city. You will learn to see the consequences of citizen science and the merging of Architecture and information space. You will be up-to-date on the latest research and development on how to better understand, create and manage the future cities for a more resilient urban world.

Swiss MOOC on Future Cities


Here the FEEDBACK VIDEO about the Future Cities Massive Open Online Course 2015:

L09 – Partizipativer Stadtentwurf. Towards citizen design science.

2015-04-27/  HIT H 31.4

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmitt and Prof. Jane M. Jacobs // L09 – Partizipativer Stadtentwurf. Towards citizen design science.

PDF File with the slides:






L08 – Bewegung und Lebensqualität. Mobility and Livability.

2015-04-27/  HIT H 31.4

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmitt and Dr. Alexander Erath/ L08 – Bewegung und Lebensqualität. Mobility and Livability.

PDF File with the slides:






L06 – Energie und Lebensqualität II. Energy and livability II

2015-03-30 /  HIT H 31.4

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmitt and Dr. Matthias Berger/ L06 – Energie und Lebensqualität II. Energy and livability II

PDF File with the slides:

L06_150330_Energie und Lebensqualitaet II