What is Gigatechnology?

gigatechnology n. 1. Very large human engineered technologies. 2. The totality of civil infrastructure. 3. An area of scientific inquiry focusing on very large systems. (Latin gigas, giant)

A New Science?

We are beginning to understand that science and engineering at the giga-scale are fundamentally different than we are used to. Giga-scale systems have emergent properties, constraints, interactions, and synergies which traditional science and engineering can't predict.

Why Study Gigatechnology?

Studying gigatechnology will show us how to design, build, and operate the biggest systems that our species makes by minimizing the bad, and emphasizing the good properties that emerge in our cities. This will lead us towards greater sustainability, resiliency, and prosperity.

Learn More About Gigatechnology

Gigatechnologies are the largest engineered structures with which humans manipulate mass and energy. They include electric power grids; networks of roadways; municipal water systems; mazes of pipelines; global supply chains; webs of connected communications, sensors, and computing devices; and clusters of buildings that aggregate to form blocks, neighborhoods, and cities. Problems arise because these systems are largely designed, built, and maintained in isolation from one another. Failure to recognize the interconnections among infrastructure systems, as well as with the social, economic, and environmental systems in which they operate, results in sub-optimal and unintended outcomes.

Our proposed Engineering Research Center for Gigatechnology (or, Te9 - Technology to the ninth power) will create a newly convergent and use-inspired science and engineering transdiscipline committed to the study of the interconnections and interdependencies among the very large engineered systems of energy, water, transportation, and buildings, as well as the emergent properties that result from these interactions. Smog, community identity, climate change, rapid technological innovation, flooding, and increased economic opportunities are just a few examples of emergent properties that tend to occur in cities. Understanding how to minimize the negative, and reinforce the positive emergent properties is key to a future of sustainable and resilient cities. Furthermore, a new platform for integrating gigatechnologies into the education of a diverse workforce will lay the foundation for a transcendent approach to infrastructure engineering that results in cities that generate more equitable wealth and health at reduced costs, with less waste, and lower resource investments.

With cities as the dominant form of human habitation, and with the prospect of constraints in energy, material, water, and climate stability, we need to think differently about how we inhabit our planet. A thorough understanding of gigatechnology will be a key strategy towards thriving cities in the face of mounting constraints. Keep up with our progress to see how Gigatechnology can brighten our future.