DigitalFUTURES was initiated in 2011 by Neil Leach and Philip Yuan, as a collaborative venture involving students from the University of Southern California (USC) and Tongji. It consisted of a festival of workshops, lectures, and a conference, held over the summer months. This was repeated on an annual basis, and over the years DigitalFUTURES began to grow into the largest ever in person festival of computational design, attracting students and instructors from all over the world. With time, it also spawned a series of conference papers, book publications, an international PhD program, and eventually a peer reviewed journal.
In 2020 DigitalFUTURES went online and became global, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Architects and instructors from around the world came together in a spirit of solidarity to teach workshops, and share their passion for architecture. With this important shift, DigitalFUTURES began to grow substantially, hosting over 80 workshops in 2020, over 100 workshops in 8 different languages in 2021, and over 130 workshops in 11 different languages in 2022.
In 2020 DigitalFUTURES also mutated into a permanent, all year round platform, offering weekly sessions, originally only in English. Soon DigitalFUTURES China was formed, followed by the establishment of several language channels, initially in Arabic, Farsi, Spanish and Portuguese. DigitalFUTURES now hosts a series of events each week, in various languages.
In 2021 the Doctoral Consortium was launched, allowing doctoral candidates and would-be doctoral candidates worldwide to meet on a single global platform. Initially hosted in English by Tongji and Florida International University (FIU), these are now being hosted in different languages through the DigitalFUTURES language channels.