History of Automated Design

Having been involved in CAD for 55 years, I figured it was about time that I got with it and shared some of that experience, for better or worse, with posterity.

Interestingly, I wrote my first line of CAD code at Fluor Corp  in 1959.   “1959!! Didn’t know that CAD existed in 1959”.  Well it did.  Or, at least it was getting started then.  First program, have the computer design a reinforced concrete foundation for vertical pressure vessels.  Took about 3 months to write in absolute NYGoodHealth machine language for a Burroughs 205.   Most fun I have had at work.  Even got to publish an article about it in the 1960 Transactions of ASCE.  The wave of the future.

CAD and computers have come a long way since. But, interestingly, automated design was replaced by interactive computer-aided-design.  Make the computer our friend and not a threat to replace jobs.  I wonder if automated design is making a comeback.  Like Archway’s automated design of parking lots, or automated design of reinforced concrete parking structure or even Bentley’s Structural Modeler that completely designs a steel structure.   More later