Last year’s bridge design did not work well for the 2014 Engineering Encounters Bridge Design Contest (formerly the West Point Bridge Design Contest):
When I tried a similar design in the West Point Bridge Designer 2014, I couldn’t get the cost below about $172k, but a simpler design was cheaper:
This design is currently 12 of 41 in the open contest, so clearly one can do better. I don’t expect it to stay high on the leaderboard for long. It would already be much worse than that on the consolidated board, since the top 10 on the open board only fall in the top 50 on the consolidated one.
I think that the contest would be more interesting to me if they had provided an API for testing bridges. Then the challenge would be to write bridge optimization software that explored the design space much more thoroughly and tweaked the designs. It might be possible to do that this year, as the source code is available from sourceforge. I’m not interested enough in the optimization problem to try to interface to their Java code, but it might be a good way to make a college-level version of the Bridge Designer Contest.
- West Point Bridge Designer 2011 (gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com)
- West Point Bridge Design Contest 2012 (gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com)
- West Point Bridge Design Contest 2012, again (gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com)
- West Point Bridge Design Contest 2013 (gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com)