USC Sonny Astani CEE an advocate for tech innovation

The operations of buildings accounts for 40% of the national energy demand
USC Sonny AstaniCEE has been recognised by Dassault Systèmes as a leading advocate for technologically advanced solutions for the built environment

Currently led by Burçin Becerik-Gerber, the USC Sonny Astani Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) has been recognised by Dassault Systèmes as a leading advocate of technologically advanced solutions for the built environment.

The global innovator in 3D, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) software has partnered through its 3DEXPERIENCE Edu Centers of Excellence program has partnered with educational facilities like the USC Sonny Astani CEE which are accelerating the digital transformation of the construction industry which is notoriously slow at adopting new technologies. 

“3DEXPERIENCE Edu Centers of Excellence combine knowledge and know-how to provide unparalleled learning experiences that foster employability. The ongoing digital and sustainability transformation requires the elevation of all jobs by providing stakeholders with more opportunities to develop and apply virtual twins created by engineers. The Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USC Viterbi School of Engineering capitalises on a well-established 3DEXPERIENCE expertise and a transformational vision for the global ecosystem of cities and infrastructure. With our partners in the industry, they advance the workplace for a better future,” said Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice President, Industry, Marketing & Sustainability at Dassault Systèmes.

A first in the program to focus on sustainable innovation

USC Sonny Astani CEE is the first facility in the program to focus its skills on sustainable innovation in the cities, infrastructure and construction industry through courses such as the MS in Advanced Design & Construction Technology. The course trains professionals to tackle issues of sustainability through the application of computational tools for data analysis, visualisation, modelling, and simulation. The course also emphasises the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration to bridge the industry’s fragmentation.

The USC Sonny Astani CEE’s partnership with Dassault Systèmes was spearheaded by David Gerber - Professor of Practice in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture. 

“There’s a misconception that civil and environmental engineering is somehow distinct from the tech sector – but actually, contemporary civil and environmental engineering is very computational. By promoting innovation in the industry, we’re determined to affect the livability of the planet – acting as environmental stewards by developing energy efficient and economic solutions,” said Gerber. 

Emphasising that the skills learned at USC Sonny Astani CEE are transferable, Becerik-Gerber stresses that these areas can no longer be siloed. Her vision for smart cities aligns user-centred thinking with data-driven engineering and intelligent systems.

“Civil and environmental engineers will play a crucial role in shaping the future of our planet, leveraging emerging technologies to address pressing environmental challenges and create sustainable solutions. Through its education of the next generation of change-makers, CEE is equipping civil and environmental engineers with the necessary skills to harness technology and lead transformative initiatives for a better, more sustainable future,” she commented.

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