64-Bit Computing in A/E/C: A Brief Overview

Industries that rely on heavy computing power—including Architecture and Engineering—increasingly are making the switch to 64-bit systems over the traditional 32-bit variety. FitzGerald Associates is making this switch and our IT team offers a brief overview on the subject.
The primary difference between a 32-bit and a 64-bit operating system is an increase in the volume of memory (RAM) and data the system can use and manipulate. In short, more ‘bits’ allow a computer to access and communicate better with the system’s memory, allowing for more streamlined processing and higher-powered functionality.
It should be noted, however, that with this increase in power and functionality, such an upgrade can come with some complications. Those of you that remember the tribulations of that eventual upgrade from DOS to Windows understand that not every computer process goes off without a hitch, and a 64-bit upgrade is no exception. Users must carefully plan the upgrade from 32- to 64-bit systems to ensure that critical software and peripherals like printers and scanners are able to run in a 64-bit environment or, where necessary, 64-bit versions are available. While many (if not most) software and hardware developers have begun developing their applications for the newest 64-bit setups, there are still some software titles and peripherals that have yet to be made fully compatible.
As buildings and the software that can “image” them become more complex yet agile, 64-bit operating systems allocate enough performance, memory, and stability to run virtual architectural models of larger, more inclusive, and useful scales and completeness.
Building on our experience as the 3D Modeling (BIM) Consultant for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, FitzGerald Associates Architects has recognized that the future of architectural computing to be platforms that are as adaptive and robust as the programs being executed on them. Our firm fully embraces the technology as a means for increasing productivity as well as passing along value and increasing the usefulness of our designs to our clients.