Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 2 - 62
Technology: Streamline Your Business | ALICE TECHNOLOGIES
ALICE TECHNOLOGIES USES AI TO SOLVE CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULING CHALLENGES. BY TIM O'CONNOR
* Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.
* Specia y: Scheduling optimization
so ware, AI technology in construction
"We cracked a problem at no
one has been able to crack for
- Rene Morkos, founder
lanning a construction project is
a monumentally complex task.
It can take months to match the
building sequence with the availability of contractors and materials - and
even once the schedule is in place there's no
way to tell whether it's truly the most efficient way to meet all of the project's goals.
While pursuing his Ph.D. at Stanford,
Rene Morkos began to think about how
artificial intelligence could be applied to the
problem of construction scheduling. The
son of a builder, Morkos grew up around
construction sites and understood the challenges contractors faced. He had a strong
interest in the industry from the time he
was young, eventually becoming a foreman
during college and later a construction engineer. Through those roles, Morkos learned
every facet of what goes into building a
project and where the most likely bottlenecks can be found.
New equipment, modern materials and
innovative construction techniques have
enhanced the constructability of projects.
Today, almost anything an architect can
imagine can be built. But even in the midst
of all those advancements, one thing that
hasn't changed is how contractors lay out
the project. "Scheduling has been the same
thing for 56 years," Morkos says.
At Stanford, Morkos built a tool to solve
the scheduling problems he had faced on
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM VOLUME 16, ISSUE 2
Founder Rene Morkos has been
developing ALICE since 2013.
construction sites in the United States, The
Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Afghanistan. The software used
construction information to automatically
generate a project schedule in a fraction of
the time it would take a human. The potential was impressive and Morkos demonstrated it at a Stanford start-up competition
in 2013, where he beat out 115 other entries
and took home top honors.
The competition signaled the begin-
ning of the company that would become
ALICE Technologies. The next year, Morkos
finished his doctorate and in early 2015 he
formally started the company. At the time,
Morkos had the core pieces of the product,
but he still lacked an easy-to-understand
user interface. It took another two years of
tweaking and refinement before he was
ready to begin beta testing ALICE - short
for Artificial Intelligence Construction
Engineering - on real-world projects. The