PhD Position in Knowledge Models and Reasoning Systems for Digital Twins of Critical Infrastructures

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 05 Sep 2022

Creation of an accurate digital twin, a virtual model of a physical environment or an object, is one of the most important tasks for any smart environment scenario. Digital twin synchronizes the state of a physical environment with the virtual representation of it using various internet of things (IoT) sensors and actuators. A link between a physical object and its digital twin can be continuously maintained, making it possible to experiment, simulate and optimize the properties of a physical counterpart at any time.

The DiTEC (Digital Twin for Evolutionary Changes in water networks) project proposes an evolutionary approach to real-time monitoring of sensor-rich critical infrastructures that detects inconsistency between measured sensor data and the expected situation, and performs real-time model update without needing additional calibration.

As part of the DiTEC project, your role will be to investigate and create knowledge representation models for a digital twin of a critical infrastructure (such as a water network), analyse historical and real-time sensor data, and create a reasoning system that detects and alerts about changes in the real physical system, and can update the digital twin accordingly. The model should be able to handle data representation on three levels: long-term stable data (such as network topology, seasonal water supply/demand variations), short-term data (current network configuration, weather), and real-time (parameters such as water pressure, flow speed, quality).

The system is applied to water networks, where, in case of leaks, valve degradation or sensor faults, the model will be adapted to the degraded network until the maintenance takes place, which can take a long time. The project will analyse the effect on data readings of different malfunctions, and construct a mitigating mechanism that allows to continue using the data, albeit in a limited capacity.

You will be working in collaboration with fellow researchers from the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences. The position also assumes regular visits to Vitens, an industrial water distribution company, to ensure applicability of developed approaches to real-world industrial use-cases.

What are you going to do

Your tasks and responsibilities:

  • Complete and defend a PhD thesis within the official appointment duration of four years;
  • Publish and present your work in journals and international conferences;
  • Be an active part of the Informatics Institute and their activities;
  • Assist in educational activities and supervision of bachelor and master students.

Your daily supervisor will be Dr. Viktoriya Degeler.


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