- To prepare civil engineers and other professionals for the technology- and data-driven future of construction, the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering has launched a new master’s program in Advanced Design and Construction Technology (ADCT).
- The multi-disciplinary field of study will take an integrative approach to design, engineering and construction technology to develop expertise in topics such as sustainability, data analysis and visualization, computing, modeling, simulation, process engineering and manufacturing. Innovation and entrepreneurship will also be part of the curriculum, according to a press release from the university, which is located in Los Angeles.
- “We would like our future professionals to be agents of change…people who are technically savvy, design savvy and business-minded, with a real focus on computing and data, including modeling, simulation, AI, and user experience technologies such as AR and VR," said program director David Gerber, associate professor of practice in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USC.
Classes in USC's new program will leverage experts in various disciplines including:
- civil and environmental engineering
- computer and data sciences
- large-scale 3D printing
- artificial intelligence
Students will graduate with an understanding not just of the building process itself, but also how people behave in buildings, Gerber said. They will learn how artificial intelligence and internet-of-things technologies can be employed to optimize energy usage and ventilation, for example.
The program also will put emphasis on real-world opportunities and industry engagements.
"We are preparing our graduates for the more impactful roles and jobs that will not only be part of the solution for labor but also the future of construction inclusive of robotics, data-driven efficiencies and more industrialized construction methods and models," Gerber said.
While many colleges, universities and community colleges offer undergraduate degrees in construction technology, USC joins just a handful of schools that offer graduate-level studies in construction technology, such as Arizona State University's online master's in construction management and technology.
The new degree comes at "an inflection point" for construction, design and engineering, according to Lucio Soibelman, Viterbi Dean’s Professor and Department Chair of the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering said.
"For many years machines and now robots have been replacing humans on jobs that require manual labor but today, for the first time in history, computers are intelligent enough to be capable of replacing humans on knowledge-based jobs," he said in the release. "This is happening in many industries and there is not reason to think that the construction industry is not the next one to be affected by this trend."