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5410600: C19 Autonomous Tools, Design, and Innovation

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Semester:WS 22/23
Scheduled in semester:3
Semester Hours per Week / Contact Hours:30.0 L / 22.5 h
Self-directed study time:67.5 h

Module coordination/Lecturers


Master's degree programme in Information Systems (01.09.2019)


Autonomous design toolas are fundamentally changing how designers work across various industries. Autonomous design tools make independent design decisions and in, some cases, execute entire design processes. They employ technologies typically associated with artificial intelligence, including machine learning, pattern recognition, meta-heuristics, and evolutionary algorithms.

Autonomous design tools allow for the generation of a variety of diverse design artifacts, including next-generation computer chips, software for specific domains, three-dimensional virtual worlds, and large amounts of content for video games and feature films. The applications for such autonomous design tools are also expanding to other industries, such as mechanical engineering, aerospace, and architecture.

Instead of creating artifacts by directly manipulating their representations, designers select tools, decide on design parameters, set values for these parameters, and evaluate and learn from the analysis of the results the tools produce. Design work in such situations involves intense interaction with autonomous tools. Designers need to be mindful of the logic, capabilities, and limitations of the tools, and the algorithms these tools employ, and find ways to make sense of and deal with the often unanticipated outputs of such tools.

The course addresses this increasingly important role of autonomous design tools by

  • discussing the conceptual foundations of autonomous design tools;
  • discussing how autonomous design tools change the nature of work and the role of human designers;
  • analyzing examples of using autonomous tools in design practice;
  • providing hands-on experience in agent-based modelling for students to simulate the behavior of these tools; and
  • providing hands-on experience in using autonomous design tools for the design of virtual worlds.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students will:

  • understand the main concepts, theories, and methods related to autonomous design tools
  • be able to analyze how autonomous design tools change work processes
  • be able to develop agent-based models for simulating autonomous design tools


Lectures Method

  • The module involves interactive lectures with exercises to integrate theoretical knowledge with practical design and analysis skills.
  • The e-learning platform Moodle is used throughout the course to disseminate course material and for information and discussion.
  • Contemporary scientific publications from Information Systems, Management, and Computer Science are discussed in class.
  • The NetLogo software is used to model and simulate autonomous design agents.
  • Further software tools may be used throughout class.

Admission Requirements

  • Knowledge of R, Python, or Java is helpful but is not required.

Exam Modalities

Written exam (60min)