Photo by @alexiby

Why Digital Twin?

A replica of a living or non-living physical entity

After repeatedly being sent articles on this topic I decided to check out the definition and why it may be important to think about implications of using ‘digital twin’ as a concept in industry.

What is a digital twin?

“A digital twin is a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity.”

The virtual entity as such exist simultaneously with the physical entity. It can therefore have a digital replica of actual assets (physical twin). These could be a wide variety of things however processes, people, places, systems and devices can be considered.

We have to consider two important characteristics:

  1. Definitions emphasise connection between the physical and virtual model.
  2. This connection is established through real time data using sensors.

We can therefore attempt to differentiate digital twin from other concept that attempts to synchronise part of the physical world.

Integrating technologies

It is important to consider under this definition what technologies that a digital twin can incorporate or use in building a solution of a living digital simulation synchronised with its physical counterpart:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Machine Learning (ML)
  • Software analytics
  • Spatial network graphs

Optimisation and Predictive Maintenance

Quickly the clear use case for industrial applications, according to some is how it can be used to optimise machines is with the maintenance of power generation equipment such as power generation turbines, jet engines and locomotives. It can additionally be relevant for large structured whether infrastructure in a city or offshore platforms in the sea.

It can be used in manufacturing. The benefit can be stated partly as advanced ways of product and asset maintenance with management coming within reach when a digital twin of the real ‘thing’ with real-time capabilities is built.

How is Digital Twin Tech characterised?

It can be defined as (1) connectivity; (2) homogenisation; (3)reprogrammable and smart; (4) digital traces; (5) and modularity.

A current challenge can be how a lot of digital infrastructures is built on older programmable systems (so called ‘legacy’ systems).

Could it be used for cities?

A digital twin can also be used for urban sustainability by capturing the temporal and spatial implications allowing city operators to develop different strategies to deal with problems beforehand by implementing the best possible solutions.Cities such as Singapore and Jaipur are implementing digital twin technology.

This is day 96 of #500daysofAI. My current focus for day 50–100 is on AI Safety. If you enjoy this please give me a response as I do want to improve my writing or discover new research, companies and projects.

Today was more of a study note.



AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.

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