Yan Zhang

City Science
  • Research Assistant

Yan Zhang (Ryan) is a Ph.D. student and research assistant in City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab. His current research includes 1) urban big data analytics using cutting edge  AI technologies such as deep learning and computer vision; 2) developing and deploying CityScope – an urban decision support system augmented by AI, AR and TUI (tangible user interface) that democratizes the urban decision-making process. This dynamic LEGO city model gives people real-time feedback of multi-dimensional performance of the city to help users to understand and participate in urban design intuitively. Additionally, an AI assistant provides users with design recommendations which help them to achieve their goals efficiently. 

Ryan has a background in architecture design with a special emphasis on computational design for more than ten years. He holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. He worked as an architect for two world-leading design firms, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP). His architecture … View full description

Yan Zhang (Ryan) is a Ph.D. student and research assistant in City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab. His current research includes 1) urban big data analytics using cutting edge  AI technologies such as deep learning and computer vision; 2) developing and deploying CityScope – an urban decision support system augmented by AI, AR and TUI (tangible user interface) that democratizes the urban decision-making process. This dynamic LEGO city model gives people real-time feedback of multi-dimensional performance of the city to help users to understand and participate in urban design intuitively. Additionally, an AI assistant provides users with design recommendations which help them to achieve their goals efficiently. 

Ryan has a background in architecture design with a special emphasis on computational design for more than ten years. He holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. He worked as an architect for two world-leading design firms, Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP). His architecture practice includes parametric form-finding and all-phase-architectural design of Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. As an architect, he developed a strong sense of design and skills of concept sketching, 3D modeling, physical model fabrication, performance simulation, construction coordination, etc.

Ryan also worked as a research assistant for Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) on a variety of interdisciplinary projects focusing on data visualization, optimization, complex geometry, machine learning, and more.