DAFNI Newsletter – July 2020

Meet the Champions!

The Champions play a critical goal in contributing to the success and legacy of DAFNI and ensuring that beyond March 2021, there’s a system which is being used and is of value to the research and practitioner community.

Welcome to this special newsletter on the DAFNI Champions

In March 2020, DAFNI launched a competitive call inviting researchers from across the UK to apply to become Champions for DAFNI. The number of applications received from researchers interested in getting involved with DAFNI was tremendous and exceeded all expectations.

We are therefore pleased to be dedicating this newsletter to announce the researchers and projects which have been successful in becoming a DAFNI Champion, and to tell you a little about the field of work they will be undertaking on DAFNI.

Dr Brian Matthews, Project Lead, DAFNI

Video introduction to the Champions programme

Professor Jim Hall, Chair of DAFNI’s Governance Board, said, “It’s fantastic to see the diversity of projects. Having curated models already in workflows on DAFNI and datasets with accompanying visualisations means that people in government or industry or local authorities can not only look at our results but can get their hands on what we’re doing and try it out for themselves. That’s a really compelling message.”

Watch the video message from Jim Hall welcoming and introducing the work of Champions on DAFNI: https://youtu.be/zaXvdyyau64

DAFNI Champions – background

DAFNI is now moving quickly with new features being added regularly. As part of this development, we want to provide access to the platform for early adopters, users who we can invite onto the platform to try it out and give us feedback. We have been working closely with a number of pilot applications which have driven our development and our design, with the close engagement of the development team. We are now taking this to the next stage with the introduction of a cohort of Champions.

The Champions programme has been introduced to provide support for individual researchers in universities to work closely with the DAFNI platform. We opened the programme to proposals in March 2020, and were delighted to receive a number of excellent submissions. We had a lightweight peer review and chose 12 Champions. We had to say ‘no’ to some great proposals but we hope that they will still be interested in working with DAFNI in the future!

We are now getting our new Champions started, so in this month’s newsletter we focus on introducing them to you.

The DAFNI Champions have three core objectives:

  • To develop new insightful case studies, bringing new infrastructure data and models onto the platform, and exploring the potential which DAFNI can bring
  • To work with the DAFNI technical team to provide user input and requirements, so we can further develop a robust platform satisfying user needs
  • To be an advocate for DAFNI, promoting DAFNI within their home institution, including developing events with DAFNI’s immediate and extended community.

Beyond these core objectives, we wanted to give the Champions the freedom to come up with proposals exploring the full range of potential uses of DAFNI, and I am pleased to say that they have come up with a wide variety of topics.

We have Champions exploring the potential for DAFNI to support richer transport models, working with Urban Observatories to dive into how DAFNI can work with sensors regularly updating data in the environment, and developing how DAFNI can support Digital Twins of our urban spaces. I was particularly pleased to see that one of the Champions is proposing to explore the interaction of transport infrastructure with the spread of viruses, particularly relevant during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Finally we have a project involving a number of Champions working together to explore the framework of data semantics which DAFNI needs to support.

The Champions programme represents an exciting step forward in the emergence of DAFNI. I give them all my best wishes as we now start working with all the Champions, and look forward to some great results!

Dr Cristian Genes, University of Sheffield

DAFNI as a Digital Twin platform

Cristian’s focus is on demonstrating the unique, advanced technological capabilities that make DAFNI an ideal platform for collaborative development, validation and implementation of Digital Twins for large-scale complex systems.

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/sBZmTm7NmyM

Dr Juste Raimbault, UCL

Integrating the MATSim multi-agent transport simulation framework into DAFNI

Juste will develop the MATSim model to apply it to the current Covid crisis, using the EpiSim model to add pandemic indicators to travel indicators and to model them on DAFNI.

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/4SAFLbTDobQ

Adrian Hickford, University of Southampton

DAFNI and the transport research community

Adrian will carry out advocacy and community-based work to develop and strengthen relationships with transport bodies and researchers regionally and nationally to promote how the NISMOD transport model running on DAFNI can be applied in different arenas.

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/3j7x1ievOT0

Dr Simon Jude, Cranfield University

DAFNI’s interaction with the Cranfield Living Laboratory and Urban Observatory 

Simon will develop a pilot Digital Twin using DAFNI to link real-time and near real-time water quality data from Cranfield University Urban Observatory and the National Water and Water Water Treatment Test Facility.

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/_Jvn-In-6gk

Professor Liz Varga, University College London

Project name: Infrastructure Research Ontologies

The project includes seven work packages as outlined below and will culminate in the development of an ontology for infrastructure research, the absence of which is seen as a challenge to DAFNI’s sustainability.

Watch her video introduction here: https://youtu.be/dr6fH1_zQl0


The ontologies project also involves the following Champions:

Lauren McMillan, UCL

Different types of infrastructure research ontology​

The project includes seven work packages as outlined below and will culminate in the development of an ontology for infrastructure research, the absence of which is seen as a challenge to DAFNI’s sustainability.

Watch her video introduction here:  https://youtu.be/MQWhMHx-_Zs

Professor Stephen Hallett and Ian Truckell, Cranfield University

Ontologies and datasets​

Co-champions Stephen and Ian will focus on the 800 datasets already loaded into the DAFNI National Infrastructure Database and identify issues such as gaps, which inform the key ontologies for infrastructure research and which are peripheral.

Watch their video introduction here: https://youtu.be/7FisKMBo55c

Dr Andrey Postnikov, UCL

Industrial ontologies

Andrey will examine the relationship that industrial ontologies have with infrastructure ontologies, to determine overlaps required, key stakeholders and gaps.

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/BQSpEiA8m7o

Tom Russell, University of Oxford

Ontologies and scale​

Tom will look into the impact of spatial and temporal scale on models and representations of infrastructure systems. How might ontologies enable interoperability between models and datasets at different scales?

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/crxRsFy0M68

Dr Luke Smith, Newcastle University

Ontology of ontologies

Luke will tackle the area of links between the multiple infrastructure research ontologies that will be needed, and questions such as how they can help to maintain high quality infrastructure research outputs.

Watch his video introduction here: https://youtu.be/eHNI2QV9Vjw

Dr Nik Lomax, University of Leeds

Ontologies for data visulisation

As well as providing general support across work packages, Nik will look at the ontology of the interlink between data and visualisation.

29th July 2020