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Digital Twin Core Conceptual Models and Services



Shi-Wan Lin, Kym Watson, Guodong Shao, Ljiljana Stojanovic, Bassam Zarkout


To improve operational efficiency and enhance competitiveness in business, organizations are broadly undergoing digital transformation. As a foundation for digital transformation, digital twins enable system operators to dynamically represent, diagnose, predict, optimize, and control their real-world counterparts, such as equipment. In a manufacturing plant, for example, one can build digital twins of equipment, subsystems, and processes to effectively design, configure, simulate, operate, and maintain products and systems in their lifecycle stages. The digital twins provide a systematic way for operators to access and gain deep insights, through comprehensive computation, to the states and conditions of the products and equipment during operation. They also enable engineers to test out design changes or post analyses on important operational events or incidents without doing expensive and high-risk experiments with the real components. Such a system of digital twins must be highly interoperable, both with the real-world systems and other software systems in the plant. However, these digital twins often involve multiple software applications supported by software tools from different vendors for various lifecycle stages, which introduce significant challenges for integrating them together. Today it normally takes costly and time-consuming customized solutions to achieve the requisite integration. To ease the interoperability burden and avoid duplicated efforts, both systematic and standards-based approaches are needed in building out digital twin systems that are useful and cost-effective. Systematic approach enables that the digital twins and related systems can be connected, synchronized, and trusted with each other; and standards-based approach supports interoperability, encourages reuse of components, and eliminates unnecessary customized efforts. It would be helpful if digital twins of equipment, subsystems, and processes could be predefined and built with a common set of core functionalities, and then be "plugged" into a new system through standard interfaces to support different business applications. For example, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are the ideal developers of digital twins of their equipment because they have deep knowledge about their own products. If these digital twins could be delivered along with the equipment to the customer premise, it is just a matter of integrating them into the existing IT infrastructure through standard interfaces in the customer environment to support whatever business objectives the customer has, as the equipment is being installed on site. This report proposes such a "digital twin core," a middleware between underlying supporting IT infrastructure and the business applications to further this interoperability goal in the system architectural perspective. This report systematically describes the fundamentals of digital twins, basic requirements, the concept of digital twin core, its metamodel and information models, enabling architectures and technologies, and supporting business applications.
An IIC Technical Report


Digital Twin Core, Interoperability, Standards


Lin, S. , Watson, K. , Shao, G. , Stojanovic, L. and Zarkout, B. (2023), Digital Twin Core Conceptual Models and Services, An IIC Technical Report, [online], (Accessed July 22, 2024)


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Created November 3, 2023, Updated December 19, 2023