Representing and Reasoning About 3D Space

AIEDAM Special Issue, Fall 2011, Vol.25, No.4

Edited by: Sean Hanna & Bill Regli

This issue will survey the range of approaches to representing and reasoning about 3D space. It seeks practice-based contributions in spatial design domains such as architecture, urban planning and mechanical design; theoretical contributions from, for example, cognitive modelling; and technical approaches to the representation of space from CAD/CAM, CAAD and CAE. The intent is to provide common ground across this variety of disciplines and focus the discussion on specific factors that support a wide variety of design and engineering problem domains, so that representations and approaches can be usefully compared.

The way three dimensional space is represented and understood is fundamental to all design. In architecture and urban design, space is the product of design. In the engineering of smaller artefacts it is the context in which their parts relate to one another. In manufacturing it is the environment in which control systems must operate physical processes.

Papers may address alternative representations of space. The typical Cartesian representation of geometry as symbolic primitives in relation to a single origin is powerful and ubiquitous, but relationships between geometry (of adjacency interior/exterior, convex space) clear to designers require significant additional computation. Parametric and topological alternatives, graph-based representations and distance metrics all play a role across a variety of disciplines from cognitive and perceptual modelling to virtual reality and CAD. Spatial reasoning techniques from artificial intelligence and robotics are also of interest. The choice of representation affects the process of design and should be understood prior to the creation and use of intelligent computational applications.

Papers may also choose to focus on reasoning about 3D space. The analysis of space---from either a methodological point of view or as used in design---is of interest. In this context, "space" also includes work on 3D representations and reasoning techniques for shape, form and function. Work that deals with space while avoiding representation in the traditional sense, as in the case of embodied robotics, is welcomed, as is work in which space itself plays a role in reasoning or serves as a means of communication, as for example in agent-based models.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • AI and cognitive models of 3D space;
  • Approaches to perception and action in 3D space;
  • Computational methods for spatial analysis;
  • Computational methods for spatial design (architecture, urban, etc.);
  • The role of spatial reasoning in design;
  • Spatial reasoning in robotics and manufacturing/fabrication control systems;
  • Alternative representations in CAD and design tools;
  • Spatial representation as a common language across design disciplines;
  • Exchange of 3D spatial data across systems, domains and time;
  • The development and use of standards;
  • Case studies.

All submissions will be anonymously reviewed by at least three reviewers. The selection for publication will be made on the basis of these reviews. High quality papers not selected for this special issue may be considered for standard publication in AIEDAM.

Information about the format and style required for AIEDAM papers can be found here.

Note that all enquiries and submissions for special issues go to the Guest Editors, and not to the Editor in Chief.

Important dates:
Intend to submit (Abstract & Title):As soon as possible
Submission deadline for full papers:15 September 2010
Reviews due:15 December 2010
Notification and reviews to authors:15 January 2011
Revised version submission deadline:1 May 2011
Issue to publisher:1 June 2011
Guest editors:

Sean Hanna
E-mail: s.hanna at

Bill Regli
E-mail: regli at