Our CEO discusses the recently established Oxford University Digital Twin Course with Ajit Jaokar

Our expert- 

Ajit Jaokar is a Principal Data Scientist, the course director of Artificial Intelligence Cloud and Edge Implementations, and conductor of the University of Oxford courses: AI for Cybersecurity and Computer Vision. He is also the founder of Feynlabs, creating expert AI-based prototypes and specialising in digital twin technology.  

Digital twins in education: the vision- 

The idea behind the course at Oxford University centers around the notion of digital twins, a concept which Ajit states is just about to take off, although it’s been steadily present for a number of years.

The course, Digital Twins: Enhancing Model-based Design with AR, VR, and MR, is supported by Slingshot Simulations with CEO David Mckee lecturing as an external tutor. 

Ajit believes that the increasing recognition of the digital twin concept is a clear catalyst for its inclusion in university level curriculum.  

The growth of the digital twin in education- 

When analysing the acceleration of the concept of a digital twin, Ajit says there are a key set of factors: 

  • improvements in technology- the availability of enabling technologies is growing and becoming more easily accessible  
  • algorithms and VR development- Algorithms and VR are huge drivers of a simulated world 
  • physics-based modelling- the gaming industry allows better modelling with more data frequency

How can we create a community around this? 

In referring to algorithms as simply a ‘business problem to be fixed’ users can apply and use digital twin theory in a more understandable way. 

Trust is also one of the key pillars of digital twin systems- how can you expect systems to be accurate, unbiased, and easy to use for non-experts? Ajit’s research aims to allow students to overcome this lack of trust in digital technology’s abilities. 

With the enablement of computation and collaboration, digital twins can be communicated, and the concept has been able to spread throughout a digital ecosystem.  

Furthermore, a no-code approach allows inclusivity in the digital twin community. This is highly important because of skill shortages in the United Kingdom, exacerbated by the nature of digital twins typically requiring multiple experts. For example, software engineers may not be specialised in utilising surrogate modeling- an engineering method used when a model of an outcome is studied rather than the outcome itself. 

The importance of digital twins- 

One of the key factors behind a digital twin’s usage is that of storytelling. This allows engagement as non-technical stakeholders can really visualise and interact with use cases and their data. As a result, Ajit states that this will be one of the primary aspects of the course.  

At Slingshot Simulations, we also see the significant value of SMART storytelling. Our definition of a digital twin is ‘a digital environment that reflects on, mirrors, and evolves ahead of the physical environment or service to facilitate SMART decision making and storytelling of possible futures’. As such, we are excited to be supporting this course with our CEO also lecturing. 

The establishment of this course demonstrates how digital twins are becoming increasingly important and widely discussed, even externally to large technical bases. The drive for an understanding of simulated technologies is a significant factor in pioneering the growth of the digital twin.  

Find out more about the course here: Digital Twins: Enhancing Model-based Design with AR, VR and MR (Online) | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

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