UKCRIC National Infrastructure Database, Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation Facilities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Geography - SoGE

Abstract

The UKCRIC National Infrastructure Database, Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation Facilities (NIDMSVF) will enable a new generation of research that acquires and interprets data on infrastructure and cities, models complex behaviours, visualises results and informs decision making.

The National Infrastructure Database (NID) will provide a national secure facility for assembling, hosting and creating datasets on infrastructure assets and networks and the human and natural environments in which they are located. It will provide a secure, scalable and trusted repository for national infrastructure data; and a new platform for analysis of big datasets, including standard simulation test cases. It will become a hub for infrastructure researchers in the UK and for business and government organisation.

The national infrastructure Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation Facilities (MSVF) will provide an e-science environment which will represent a step-change in UK capability by (i) linking seamlessly with the national infrastructure database (ii) conveniently accessing high performance computing facilities (iii) enabling coupling of simulation modules to enable system-of-systems simulation and (iv) linking with visualisation facilities to enable scrutiny and communication of complex and high dimensional simulation results.

NIDMSVF will be based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, managed by STFC Scientific Computing Department (SCD) and supported by the JASMIN infrastructure team. This will allow the UKCRIC consortium i) to maximally benefit and leverage the significant scientific and technical track record and expertise of STFC in delivering large scale research infrastructure for the UK and international collaborations; ii) to leverage the established delivery records of STFC using capital money to deliver infrastructure assets to government organisations and international science programmes; and iii) to exploit and benefit from mature data, compute, and infrastructure assets that will provide significant added value to NIDMSVF. The development of the central NIDMSVF will be strongly collaborative and multidisciplinary in nature to ensure fruitful interactions and cross-fertilisation co-development activities between UKCRIC university-based and STFC-based teams.

Planned Impact

The aim of the UKCRIC National Infrastructure Database, Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation Facilities (NIDMSVF) is to develop and demonstrate the next generation of datasets, models, simulations and visualisations that are needed to inform strategic infrastructure system decision making for infrastructure systems and cities. These decision makers work in government departments, local government regulators, utility companies and their consultants.

The impacts from the NIDMSVF will materialise via two main routes:

1. Through the outputs of the research projects and programmes that will make use of the NIDMSVF
The research programmes that will be developed around the NIDMSVF are intended to provide decision makers with insights that hitherto have not been available to inform crucial questions: How will infrastructure systems perform in the context of major future changes like population growth, technological change and climate change? What would be the benefits of investing in new infrastructure capacity or of endeavouring to manage demand for infrastructure services? Where are the most vulnerable points in infrastructure networks? How much is it worth investing to reduce the risk of catastrophic failure? The NIDMSVF will enable hitherto intractable research questions to be addressed. The research results will be made available through publication and by making datasets and tools available for use on the NIDMSVF.

2. Through direct use of the NIDMSVF by government and businesses
There is growing interest in the potential of a national infrastructure database and modelling facilities to inform applied decision making by utility companies, government, regulators and their consultants. The NIDMSVF will become a national resource for applied modellers and analysts in infrastructure and cities. We intend that involvement of these organisations will in due course contribute to the ongoing operation and maintenance cost of the facilities.

Ultimately, consumers of infrastructure services will benefit from infrastructure systems that are more efficient, reliable, resilient and affordable.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description DAFNI will become the National Platform to satisfy the computational needs in support of data analysis; infrastructure research; and strategic thinking for the UK's long term planning and investment needs. The platform will support academic research that is aiming to provide the UK with a world leading infrastructure system that is more: efficient, reliable, resilient and affordable. It will achieve this by enabling the research community to conduct research that is able to generate new insights at a higher level of detail and accuracy than ever before.
Exploitation Route DAFNI will provide a database and computer modelling platform for use by researchers and practitioners in business and government. The arrangements by which users will gain access to DAFNI beyond its delivery phase are still being agreed.
Sectors Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Transport

URL https://www.dafni.ac.uk/
 
Description As part of DAFNI's platform development, effort has been focused on building a community of users for DAFNI. We have a number of key achievements as follows: - DAFNI has been cited in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's letter to the National Infrastructure Commission as the platform that will provide the opportunity to undertake in-depth analysis of infrastructure resilience. It states that DAFNI will provide greater means for key stakeholders to collaborate and therefore inform a future approach for infrastructure decisions/recommendations ahead of the National Infrastructure Assessment; - DAFNI was one of 10 case studies launched at the Royal Academy of Engineers as part of their 'Towards trusted data sharing' studies. This attracted representation across not only Academia, but Government and commercial organisations; - The NISMOD model has been migrated to the DAFNI system and is being used by the National Infrastructure Commission for the National Infrastructure Assessment. - Two DAFNI pilots have been completed with the University of Oxford in support of planning digital infrastructure and simulation of the housing market. - A third pilot is under way with the University of Southampton, using simulation modelling for predicting passenger demand at stations and in connection with this we have started conversations with the Department of Transport. - DAFNI is also being explored as a platform for the Environment Agency's national water resources planning framework. - A series of DAFNI Seminars called the DAFNI Roadshow have been delivered across 6 UK Universities and have been well received with 20 plus researchers attending at each University. This has promoted DAFNI to researchers and has generated expressions of interest to be involved in future pilots on DAFNI. Many more seminars will be planned in the future; - DAFNI has worked closely with the UKCRIC Newcastle University Urban Observatory to take real time data from weather, traffic and air quality sensors around the city and provide impact assessments on flooding in the city centre. The results of which are key for Infrastructure resilience modelling and also to show how DAFNI can integrate with the UKCRIC Urban Observatories; - DAFNI formed part of the winning team at a recent 'Geospatial Hackathon' arranged by the Infrastructure Projects Authority. This provided the DAFNI team with the opportunity to showcase the teams skills in visualisation techniques and an opportunity to interact with Government organisations as well as the Commercial Sector; - DAFNI now has representation on the Digital Framework Task Group and has fostered relationships with the Centre for Digital Built Britain to work closely with this community; - DAFNI was presented at a recent 'Climate Change Challenge Conference' with the theme being 'How can industry help achieve a built environment fit for the future';
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Collaboration with the National Infrastructure Commission 
Organisation HM Treasury
Department National Infrastructure Commission
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Members of the research team, particularly Mohammad Mortazavi-Naeini and Jim Hall have been working with members of the National Infrastructure Commission, to help the NIC undertake their national needs assessment.
Collaborator Contribution We have provided key, expert and informed evidence and insights.
Impact Knoweldge exchange
Start Year 2017
 
Description Consultation for a national infrastructure database, modelling, simulation and vizualisation facility ( MISTRAL/UKCRIC) 
Organisation Innovate UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are partnering with Innovate UK, STFC and OS to develop and implement a consultation process to design a national infrastructure database, modelling, simulation and vizualisation facility funded by the UKCRIC capital grant. The migration of ITRC and MISTRAL research outputs would kickstart the migration of as many as possible relevant outputs from other infrastructure research across the UK. The aim is to make the new facility become a national hub to accellerate research in infrastructure sytems to consolidate the UK's leadership in the field.
Collaborator Contribution There has been several meetings, Innovate UK is fully commited in supporting the consulation process. STFC will manage the facility and OS will provide data access to the initaive.
Impact The process is being developed with a major consultation event to be hels in June/July in London.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Consultation for a national infrastructure database, modelling, simulation and vizualisation facility ( MISTRAL/UKCRIC) 
Organisation Ordnance Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are partnering with Innovate UK, STFC and OS to develop and implement a consultation process to design a national infrastructure database, modelling, simulation and vizualisation facility funded by the UKCRIC capital grant. The migration of ITRC and MISTRAL research outputs would kickstart the migration of as many as possible relevant outputs from other infrastructure research across the UK. The aim is to make the new facility become a national hub to accellerate research in infrastructure sytems to consolidate the UK's leadership in the field.
Collaborator Contribution There has been several meetings, Innovate UK is fully commited in supporting the consulation process. STFC will manage the facility and OS will provide data access to the initaive.
Impact The process is being developed with a major consultation event to be hels in June/July in London.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Consultation for a national infrastructure database, modelling, simulation and vizualisation facility ( MISTRAL/UKCRIC) 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are partnering with Innovate UK, STFC and OS to develop and implement a consultation process to design a national infrastructure database, modelling, simulation and vizualisation facility funded by the UKCRIC capital grant. The migration of ITRC and MISTRAL research outputs would kickstart the migration of as many as possible relevant outputs from other infrastructure research across the UK. The aim is to make the new facility become a national hub to accellerate research in infrastructure sytems to consolidate the UK's leadership in the field.
Collaborator Contribution There has been several meetings, Innovate UK is fully commited in supporting the consulation process. STFC will manage the facility and OS will provide data access to the initaive.
Impact The process is being developed with a major consultation event to be hels in June/July in London.
Start Year 2016
 
Description National Infrastructure Assessment for the National Infrastructure Commission 
Organisation HM Treasury
Department National Infrastructure Commission
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Each Parliament, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will deliver a study on the UK's long-term strategic infrastructure needs and produce recommendations to address those needs across the economic infrastructure sectors including transport, energy, water and wastewater, digital communications, solid waste, flood risk management as well as considering their interdependencies and interaction with the built environment. The National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) will consist of two stages: Visions and Priorities, identifying the vision and long-term infrastructure needs to be published in mid-2017 and the National Infrastructure Assessment, a roadmap of recommendations including both on policy and infrastructure solutions to be published in mid-2018. As part of its work on the NIA, the NIC has been developing scenarios to help understand how the UK's infrastructure requirements could change in response to different assumptions about the future. These scenarios are based on available empirical evidence about past trends, and on quantitative and qualitative forecasts of changes in the economy, population and demography, climate and environment, and technology. Quantitative modelling of 'baseline' outcomes in these scenarios, and of packages of policy proposals in the most relevant scenarios, will allow an assessment of the robustness of policy options to future uncertainty. These scenarios are tested using the national infrastructure system model (NISMOD), which was developed by the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium and used to inform the National Needs Assessment, as well as models used by Government departments for the water, wastewater, solid waste, transport and energy sectors. The results from the scenario analysis are intended to provide evidence on the potential challenges for each sector through identifying the likely scale of future infrastructure requirements and to support the development of infrastructure recommendations that are robust to future uncertainty. Results will be validated by sensitivity analysis of selected parameters and by analysing outputs from different models, which have been independently quality assured.
Collaborator Contribution Each Parliament, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will deliver a study on the UK's long-term strategic infrastructure needs and produce recommendations to address those needs across the economic infrastructure sectors including transport, energy, water and wastewater, digital communications, solid waste, flood risk management as well as considering their interdependencies and interaction with the built environment. The National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) will consist of two stages: Visions and Priorities, identifying the vision and long-term infrastructure needs to be published in mid-2017 and the National Infrastructure Assessment, a roadmap of recommendations including both on policy and infrastructure solutions to be published in mid-2018. As part of its work on the NIA, the NIC has been developing scenarios to help understand how the UK's infrastructure requirements could change in response to different assumptions about the future. These scenarios are based on available empirical evidence about past trends, and on quantitative and qualitative forecasts of changes in the economy, population and demography, climate and environment, and technology. Quantitative modelling of 'baseline' outcomes in these scenarios, and of packages of policy proposals in the most relevant scenarios, will allow an assessment of the robustness of policy options to future uncertainty. These scenarios are tested using the national infrastructure system model (NISMOD), which was developed by the UK Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium and used to inform the National Needs Assessment, as well as models used by Government departments for the water, wastewater, solid waste, transport and energy sectors. The results from the scenario analysis are intended to provide evidence on the potential challenges for each sector through identifying the likely scale of future infrastructure requirements and to support the development of infrastructure recommendations that are robust to future uncertainty. Results will be validated by sensitivity analysis of selected parameters and by analysing outputs from different models, which have been independently quality assured.
Impact Progress with modelling for NIA/V&P to date • NIC have analysed infrastructure 'drivers' (population and demography, economic growth and productivity, climate and the environment, technology) to identify trends which will affect future infrastructure needs and generate scenarios - working papers published online • Meetings between NIC & ITRC to discuss technology scenarios and appropriate parameters in NISMOD • ITRC have added the NIC's socio-economic scenarios (population and economic growth) in NISMOD • NIC and ITRC have analysed the water supply-demand balance across the 11-member future flow scenarios in order to determine which to use for NIC scenario analysis • NIC would like to commission Dr Michael Simpson to include new research on high and low emissions scenarios in NISMOD by end of March 2017 • NIC have started running water model with support from ITRC
Start Year 2016
 
Description Ordnance Survey 
Organisation Ordnance Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2007
 
Description DAFNI - new branding launched as well as new website and twitter feed 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Since our new branding, website, branding launch we have had the following statistics:

Website users: 1124
Page views 5210
Average page per session 3
Average viewing session: 2 mins

Twitter:
56 followers
Over 30 tweets and re-shares across the community
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dafni.ac.uk/
 
Description DAFNI Presented to the UKCRIC Community 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the first opportunity for the DAFNI team to talk to the wider UKCRIC community and update them on our activities in relation to platform development. The presentation was given to representatives of 14 Universities who form part of the UKCRIC, of which DAFNI is one of the four research themes under this EPSRC funded Grant. It was also a chance to share with the Urban Observatories and National Labs opportunities to engage with DAFNI. Following which, DAFNI has engaged with Newcastle University and is now ingesting real-time data from a range of sensors across Newcastle City and linking to two models to provide flood resilience modelling.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DAFNI Seminar: DAFNI supporting infrastructure resilience planning - engaging with Researchers - Cranfield University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact To reach the wider Data and Analytics research groups across UK Universities. To engage with them in developing DAFNI as a National facility and build a user community for DAFNI. DAFNI will focus its support in engaging with new researchers onto to DAFNI and supporting with training to pass on software engineering techniques when creating model simulations and collation of data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DAFNI Seminar: DAFNI supporting infrastructure resilience planning - engaging with Researchers - University College London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact To reach the wider Data and Analytics research groups across UK Universities. To engage with them in developing DAFNI as a National facility and build a user community for DAFNI. DAFNI has focussed its support by partnering with UCL to create a Network Plus grant with EPSRC. This involves partnerships with the University of Oxford, Newcastle University, University of Cardiff, and The University of Belfast.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description DAFNI Seminar: DAFNI supporting infrastructure resilience planning - engaging with Researchers - University of Bristol 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact To reach the wider Data and Analytics research groups across UK Universities. To engage with them in developing DAFNI and build a user community for DAFNI. DAFNI will focus its support in engaging with Bristol CDT, bringing new researchers onto to DAFNI and supporting with training to pass on software engineering techniques when creating model simulations and collation of data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DAFNI Seminar: DAFNI supporting infrastructure resilience planning - engaging with Researchers - University of Sheffield 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact To engage with them in developing DAFNI as a National facility and build a user community for DAFNI. DAFNI will focus its support in engaging with Sheffield CDT, bringing new researchers onto to DAFNI and supporting with training to pass on software engineering techniques when creating model simulations and collation of data. DAFNI has also worked with Professor Daniel Coca, PI, University of Sheffield to apply for Community of Need Facility DAFNI as part of sustaining DAFNI following its final development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DAFNI and University of Newcastle Hackathon - Real time flood modelling 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was an important milestone for both DAFNI and Newcastle University and demonstrated for the first time integration of the UKCRIC Observatory programme with DAFNI to support infrastructure resilience modelling. DAFNI was able to support the models and analytics developed in the NERC Flood-PREPARED project for the real-time impact assessment of surface water flooding, via streamed data from weather and traffic sensors across the City of Newcastle.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.dafni.ac.uk/events/
 
Description DAFNI developers help form winning team at Geospatial Hackathon - Infrastructure Projects Authority and The Geospatial Commission 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The main purpose of the event was to bring together geospatial data scientists from infrastructure organisations and academia, not only to share data and ideas from their respective fields, but also to facilitate cross-sector collaboration essential for a more robust infrastructure network nationwide. The teams involved competed against one another using hypothetical scenarios to create models that would predict the impacts two new building settlements would have on the surrounding infrastructure. In a race against the clock, they had to consider many different constraints and dependencies on the surrounding environment, including commuter connectivity and capacity of the current transport network; flood zones and risk; and environmental constraints of the surrounding area.

DAFNI team members were able to showcase their individual skills alongside their university collaborators, each developing different aspects of their team's application to produce the 'Onion' (Observation of National Infrastructure Operation and Networks) assessment tool; so called due to the layers used in map based visualisations. The tool enabled a variety of mathematical assessments to be made based on the placement of a new settlement. This included features such as suitability for electric vehicles, solar power potential, and transport connectivity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.dafni.ac.uk/news/dafni-developers-help-form-winning-team-at-geospatial-hackathon/
 
Description DAFNI presented at Super Computing Conference 2018, Dallas, US 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact DAFNI had the opportunity, through the Scientific Computer Department, STFC, to deliver a poster presentations to delegates attending Super Computing Conference 2018 in Dallas. This reached software engineers, policy makers and provided the opportunity to engage with similar facilities based in the USA and learn from their approach to providing a National facility.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.scd.stfc.ac.uk/Pages/News-in-Brief---November-2018---February-2019.aspx
 
Description Interview and Publication of the DAFNI facility on the The UK Authority Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Media release following DAFNI's inclusion in the Chancellor's, Philip Hammond, letter to Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission. This outlined the Government's response to the National Infrastructure Assessment, commissioning of a new national infrastructure commission study on resilience where DAFNI receives special mention. DAFNI is cited as the facility that will provide the opportunity to undertake an in-depth analysis of resilience, as it works with key stakeholders to inform future approaches and should form part of the planning and analysis phase prior to the next National Infrastructure Assessment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ukauthority.com/articles/dafni-aims-high-with-analytics-for-infrastructure/
 
Description Interview and publication in New Civil Engineer - Chancellor hails super software as improving UK Infrastructure 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Interview and publication on the New Civil Engineer online resource citing the Chancellor of the Exchequer's mention of DAFNI in his letter to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/chancellor-hails-super-software-as-improving-uk-infrastructu...
 
Description Partnership formalised between Oxfordshire County Council and DAFNI 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact DAFNI (Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure), through STFC, signed an agreement to work with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to provide data and simulation support for activities relating to resilience planning and development strategies across the County. Through DAFNI, council planners will be able to work with a range of datasets, simulate different scenarios, gauge impacts on the County before committing to spending the public money on new developments. The initial phase will be to conduct a pilot activity with DAFNI to scope council requirements and later the hope is to translate this partnership with other local authorities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.dafni.ac.uk/news/computer-scientists-offering-help-to-improve-oxfordshires-transport-man...