Aladdin: Sustainable Energy Design Powered by AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way people work. As a manifestation of human ingenuity, design is a vital testbed for studying how we may meet the opportunities and challenges posed by AI. Based on the fusion of CAD and CAE, Aladdin is an experimental platform for reimagining design in the coming era of AI — in the context of sustainable energy that is crucial to the future of humanity.

Live model above (view in full screen)

Design and simulation capabilities

First, Aladdin is an integrated CAD/CAE platform that can be used to design a structure and simulate its function within a single system. This eliminates complicated toolchains needed in traditional engineering design software and reduces the difficulty in implementing automatic design using AI.

Photovoltaic solar design with Aladdin (see more examples).

Computational building energy analysis with Aladdin (see more information).

Second, by supporting the design and simulation of multiple types of renewable energy, as well as energy consumption of buildings, Aladdin makes it possible to model and analyze certain renewables colocation and microgrid systems on a single software platform.

Artificial intelligence capabilities

Aladdin's AI capabilities are mainly based on generative design, a tabula rasa methodology inspired by biological evolution. Once the design criteria and constraints of a product are specified, generative design uses evolutionary computation to efficiently explore the entire parameter space supported by the software to find optimal solutions. During the iterative search for feasible solutions, the software automatically constructs a vast number of forms at each step, tests their functions using numerical simulations, evaluates their quality based on the given criteria and constraints, and then selects those that are closer to the goal for the next step. By repeating these computational routines many times, a variety of designs that meet the goal gradually emerge. Engineers then review these outputs, often with the aid of interactive visual analytics for intuitive evaluation and comparison across the board, and choose one or more designs for prototyping (see an example about concentrated solar power). This paradigm shift in design methods entails a fundamental change of mindset for design thinking that must be addressed in the engineering education of future workforce.

Architectural design with Aladdin (see more examples).

How to cite it?

Charles Xie, Xiaotong Ding, & Rundong Jiang, Using Computer Graphics to Make Science Visible in Engineering Education, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 43(5), 99-106, 2023. DOI:10.1109/MCG.2023.3298386

Why Name It Aladdin?

In Arabic folklore, Aladdin is a tale that features a magic lamp able to generate whatever its owner wants. In the field of design, AI has somewhat realized the fairytale — designers only need to specify what they want and AI would bring their wishes to life.

Models Map

System Requirements

Engineering Domains
Building energy
Photovoltaic solar power
Concentrated solar power
Wind power
Geothermal power
Energy storage

Available in five languages
Generative design I
Generative design II
Design a solar farm with AI
Visual evolutionary computation
Bifacial solar panels
Navigate in models
Construct 3D models
Accuracy of solar simulations
Accuracy of 3D modeling
Citizen science
GIS/CAD integration
Solar design and art
Design an energy-plus house
Building energy analysis II
Building energy analysis I
Heatmap visualizations
Solarize your school
Let there be light
Simulate seasonal changes
Integrate PV in infrastructure
Manipulate a group
Common types of roofs
Solar updraft tower
Linear Fresnel reflectors
Solar power tower
Parabolic dishes
Parabolic troughs
Visibility analysis
Solar farm design parameters
Create solar panel arrays
Embed Aladdin in a page
Decipher a solar array surprise
Model solar farms in real world
Simulate solar trackers
A virtual heliodon
Generative design of solar towers

Prof. Aaron Hanai
Lehigh University

Educational Activities
Design energy-plus house
Solar energy science
Solarize your school
Design solar farm with AI
Solar panels v. trees
People v. solar farm
Solarize your home


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This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant numbers #2105695, #2131097, and #2301164. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material, however, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.