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Meet Murat Melek, our Future Craft category judge! With over 15 years of experience in the AEC industry, a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from UCLA, and a Master’s in Data Science from UC Berkeley, Murat combines expertise in structural engineering with advanced digital and data science skills. Murat's passion for data-centric design and management fuels innovation in the industry, positioning him as a key figure in AEC, particularly as AI and ML rapidly advance!

Murat Melek: Data Science, Structural Engineering and AI

Murat started his automation journey with coding some years ago. Fast forward to today, and he holds the exciting title of Director of AI at Suffolk Construction. He’s currently exploring the ins and outs of Speckle Automate and SpecklePy with his team, all in the search for more sustainable and cost-effective structures.

His work is not just about adapting new technologies but integrating them meaningfully into the fabric of building design. Murat’s interest in the software-agnostic representation of building data aligns perfectly with the Future Craft theme, which encourages you to hack with AI&ML, Smart Contracts, XR, Digital Twin, and 3D Printing in mind!

Murat envisions a future where the artistry of design meets the precision of technology, enhancing both efficiency and sustainability. He shared with us:

“Netflix knows what you like to watch next because it matches your taste based on data derived from huge datasets. However, we don’t have that amount of high-quality design data – the data is simply not there. That’s why synthetic data becomes key for us, providing high-quality curated data. Speckle streamlines the design process and offers a kind of common data language, which is a prerequisite for this approach.”

The Challenges and Opportunities with AI in AEC

While the construction industry is still warming up to the idea of AI, Murat is keen on pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. He points out the critical need for data literacy in the AEC industry that will broaden our possibilities to use it effectively and safely:

“AI models used in the AEC industry aren't recommending movies; it's far more complex. Safety and cost are critical concerns, and reliability remains a challenge. While some remain hesitant to fully embrace AI beyond preliminary concept studies, preferring human judgment due to the risks, a balanced approach with checks and balances enables us to harness AI's benefits over the entire design cycle.”

Murat’s Advice for AEC and Hackathon Success

Murat encourages future crafters to embrace the mindset of staying ahead of the curve and continuously updating their skill sets as technological advancements rapidly make old practices obsolete:

“In today’s AEC industry, you need to be constantly in the grind mode. According to some researchers, every 2.5 or 3 years our skillsets become outdated so I recommend staying current if you want to continue growing."

In which direction should your ideation go? This judge urges you not to treat the hackathon as a contextual vacuum:

"We are facing both a serious climate crisis and a manpower crisis in the building industry. We need to be agile and develop sustainable solutions! It's crucial to create new workflows that are efficient and data centric, and that's where I see the Future Craft category excelling.”

Amazing! But What Now?

While we wrap up our conversation with Murat, and ask him for one last message of advice to you, the future Speckle hackers, he points out the importance of teamwork and the creative interplay of skills:

“Novelty of the idea is key! Your ability to turn an idea into at least somewhat of a product and present it clearly and authentically is what will pave your way to the first place! But don’t be discouraged if your project is a bit messy—after all, it’s a hackathon!”

Ready to shake things up in the Future Craft hackathon category with Murat Melek? Sign up now, bring your A(I)-game, and hack with Speckle!

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