Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation, should develop new crosscutting programs to advance the mathematical, statistical, and computational foundations underlying digital twin technologies, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Digital twins hold immense potential to accelerate scientific discovery, drive improvements in climate sciences, and revolutionize health care, manufacturing, and other sectors, but an integrated agenda is needed to harmonize research across sectors and focus efforts on realistic applications.
“Digital twins have great promise in bringing value across areas of science and technology, including engineering, the natural world, and medicine. Our report makes clear that there is a real opportunity here to bring together domains and disciplines in new, valuable ways, but to achieve that value requires investment in interdisciplinary foundations,” said Karen Willcox, director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences and professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin, and chair of the committee that wrote the report. “There are serious research questions to tackle, and any responsible development of digital twin technologies must maintain an integral focus on establishing and maintaining trust.”