News

DAFNI takes pivotal role in shaping the development of Digital Twins

April 16, 2019

Samuel Chorlton, STFC Project Lead for the Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI), has been appointed by the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) to Chair its Digital Twin Steering Group.

As a result, DAFNI is taking a pivotal role in shaping the Digital Twin Hub (DT Hub) and the direction it will take as it begins to address the many challenges and opportunities it encounters.

On taking up his new role, Samuel said, “I am delighted to be leading the DT Hub Steering Group and look forward to working collaboratively to progress the Digital Twin agenda. The DT Hub will be a collaborative web-enabled community for those who own or are developing digital twins within the built environment. The Hub is intended to ensure that knowledge and experience is shared to maximise learning and it will invite involvement from the wider digital twin community in developing a framework that works for everybody”.

“There is increasing interest in Digital Twins, resulting from industry trends and progress made through the publication of the Gemini Principles, and there is a real sense of importance around enabling the UK to leverage the potential improvements in responsiveness, proactiveness and effectiveness that our infrastructure can hope to achieve.”

The DAFNI facility, developed and hosted at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), provides a transformative platform for infrastructure systems analysis, revolutionising the UK’s ability to adapt to a changing climate and technological landscape. It comprises a powerful computer system capable of radically transforming design, planning and operational performance of the UK’s infrastructure, providing access to massive secure data storage, fast computer performance and the next generation in systems visualisation. DAFNI is one of the four major delivery strands within a £120 million investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) into the UK Collaboratorium on Infrastructure and Cities which aims to achieve a step-change in the nation’s approach to infrastructure investment.

Samuel said “As DAFNI’s lead, I have identified opportunities to standardise our approaches within the UK and continue to cement our country’s position as a global leader and innovator in the domain. To achieve this, the DAFNI facility has been created to provide the computational resource and tooling necessary to overcome a number of the extant technical challenges. These, however, do not address some of the historical cultural perceptions within organisations that prohibit that pass of adoption of emerging techniques. In early discussions with Mark Enzer, Chair of the Digital Framework Task Group, and Alexandra Bolton, Deputy Director of CDBB, we identified DAFNI as a possible mechanism through which to demonstrate the business value in overcoming a number of these hurdles.”

Digital Twins facilitate a new way to understand the environment within which we are operating, and to better identify the effect that decisions may have before undertaking significant investment. The Digital Twin Steering Group (DTSG) is there to help comprehend how Digital Twins can achieve this and what measures need to be put in place to help accommodate adoption – this may be through identifying opportunities for creation of standards or best practice policies. To ensure this happens in a seamless and progressive manner, it is essential that a survey of what is currently possible is conducted – and a strategy and roadmap are created. This becomes increasingly important when operating within such a broad sector such as national infrastructure where terminology and applications can vary greatly across the specific areas composed within. Providing a mechanism that will allow the outputs to be joined up and made relevant across disciplines is one of the key objectives for the DTSG to achieve.

For more information on the DTSG please visit the CDBB website.