November 14, 2023

image of digital twin of ut campus

A new “digital twin” of The University of Texas at Austin campus gives the clearest picture yet of historical and current energy usage across the Forty Acres — from engineering labs, to medical facilities, to sports stadiums, to residence halls.

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a real-life object that visualizes large swathes of data about the physical space. Digital twins can serve as a shell for other researchers to apply data and give decision-makers new insights into the spaces they manage. According to Karen Willcox, professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics and director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, almost any biological, natural or physical system could have a digital twin that would have some kind of utility, including related to climate change and where to invest in infrastructure. The digital twin concept, which initially started in aerospace engineering, has exploded into areas like climate science, engineering, medicine and even smart cities.

The digital twin displays past, present and future energy usage in buildings across campus, offering different scenarios based on climate models.

Read the full story on the Oden Institute site.