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Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s)

The focus of this ASSESS Initiative theme is to advocate for and enable a significant expansion of the use of Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s). 

One of the first steps in this advocacy was to develop a common comprehensive definition of Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s).  The following is the definition agreed to by the ASSESS Advisory Committee working group on Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s).  The decision was made to define an “Engineering Simulation Digital Twin” and not to try to define the more general term of “Digital Twin”

Engineering Simulation Digital Twin is a physics-based virtual representation of a Physical Twin (physical asset or a meaningful aggregation of physical assets) that exploits information flow to/from the associated Physical Twin.  Each Physical Twin may have multiple Engineering Simulation Digital Twins used for various purposes.

Not all Engineering Simulation models are digital twins.  As per the definition above there are specific criteria for any Engineering Simulation model to be an Engineering Simulation Digital Twin:

  1. It must be a physics-based representation
  2. There needs to be a corresponding physical twin
  3. It must exploit information flow to/from the associated physical twin

Physical systems are stochastic in nature. Therefore, it is recommended that an Engineering Simulation Twin should be both parametric and probabilistic in nature to appropriately account for the variation and variability in the Physical twin and its operations.

Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s) are an essential part of any Digital Thread Strategy and represent the next big Business Driver in the Engineering Simulation domain.  Most major Engineering Simulation vendors are actively pursuing some form of Digital Twin strategy.  However, the current definitions of “Digital Twins” is often defined by each vendor’s offerings.  This ASSESS Initiative theme unified definition of “Engineering Simulation Digital Twin” creates a common clear definition that is independent of any implementation or software tools used.

Engineering Simulation Digital Twin(s) are a potentially disruptive approach for physical assets where: servicing is hard or extremely expensive, ongoing maintenance is critical, physical assets have a long life, or physical assets are safety critical.