Monday, 7 October, 2001
FIRE SAFETY ENGINEERS ARE MEDALLISTS IN BRITISH COMPUTER SOCIETY AWARDS
The Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) at the University of Greenwich has been chosen as a medallist in the coveted British Computer Society (BCS) IT Awards (the Oscars of the IT industry) in recognition of their EXODUS suite of software.
This Awards scheme aims to encourage the very best in UK Information Technology and its applications. Open to any project developed in the field of IT in the UK, the Awards are the most prestigious acknowledgement of excellence in the British computer industry.
EXODUS has become the evacuation tool for the safety industry, tailored to the building, aircraft and maritime environments, with a rail version of the software currently under development. Based on a highly sophisticated set of submodels, EXODUS shatters the mould of traditional engineering analysis to produce realistic people-people, people-fire and people-structure interactions. As a result, the safety engineer can test more designs in less time to reach the optimal solution, free of the high cost and potential danger associated with human evacuation trials.
In contrast to previous approaches, which treated thinking humans as fluid flowing through pipes ('hydraulic'), or mindless automata bouncing around the geometry ('ball-bearing'), EXODUS incorporates complex behavioural models with adaptive capabilities. Individuals have knowledge of the structure, an ability to react to communication, affiliative bonds such as family groups, individual motivation and queue recommitment behaviour.
The software technology embedding the EXODUS model exploits a range of leading edge software engineering techniques, including heuristic rule bases, a virtual reality user environment and object orientation. Accurately simulating human behaviour, EXODUS tracks the trajectory of all individuals, through a set of five core interacting sub-models (representing the Occupant, Movement, Behaviour, Toxicity and Hazards), as they make their way out of the enclosure or are overcome by fire hazards such as heat and toxic gases.
“We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as medallists,” says Professor Ed Galea, Director of the FSEG, based in the University of Greenwich’s School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. “EXODUS is the fruit of an enormous amount of research over the past 10 years by a dedicated team of behaviour scientists, fire engineers, mathematicians and software engineers.”
There are currently three members to the EXODUS family of evacuation models, airEXODUS for the aviation industry, buildingEXODUS for the built environment and maritimeEXODUS for use in the shipping and off-shore industries. A rail version is currently under development.
“airEXODUS has been used by aircraft manufacturers, AIRBUS, Boeing, BAe and dehavilland to improve the safety performance of aircraft ranging from regional jets to the AIRBUS A380 SuperJumbo,” says Professor Galea. “buildingEXODUS is being used by design engineers and code enforcement agencies in 20 countries for improving the evacuation performance of cinemas, offices, sports stadia, stations, airports, hospitals, schools and prisons. Notable applications include the Dusseldorf airport redevelopment, Greenwich Millennium Dome and the Sydney Olympic Stadium. maritimeEXODUS is the latest addition to the EXODUS family of evacuation models. It was developed in response to the resurgence in the cruise industry, where larger ships are being designed and built for which the current approach to assessing evacuation safety is inadequate. maritimeEXODUS will provide a reliable and cost-effective means of assessing these designs.”
The BCS IT Awards will be made at a gala dinner on 7 November 2001, when the top three winners will be announced from the 10 medallists. Previous medallists include Marlboro McLaren F-1 Racing, SuperJanet and the Digital Audio Broadcast System.
The British Computer Society IT Awards exist to honour significant technical developments in the field of Information Technology in the UK, including hardware or software development, or a combination of the two. The IT Awards, now in their 29th year, have the longest continuing record of honouring IT excellence. The high status of the Awards is underlined by the recognition which winners receive as a result of their success.
“EXODUS represents a cost effective way for designers and regulators to evaluate designs, and by allowing more scenarios to be assessed, it increases the likelihood that the optimal solution will be found. In many cases, it can answer questions that cannot be addressed using conventional approaches,” says Professor Galea. “It is unparalleled in the range of its applicability to aviation, building and marine environments, and serves the public interest by embedding safety in the design process.”
For further information, contact:
Public Relations Unit
University of Greenwich
Tel: 020 8331 7663