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The role of computational science in digital twins

Digital twins hold immense promise in accelerating scientific discovery, but the publicity currently outweighs the evidence base of success. We summarize key research opportunities in the computational sciences to enable digital twin technologies, as identified by a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus study report.

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Fig. 1: Elements of the digital twin ecosystem.


  1. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Foundational Research Gaps and Future Directions for Digital Twins (The National Academies Press, 2023);

  2. Digital Twin: Definition & Value — An AIAA and AIA Position Paper (AIAA, 2021);

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The 2023 NASEM report1 to which this Comment refers was authored by K.W. (chair), D. Bingham, J. Chung, C. Chung, C. Cruz-Neira, C. Grant, J. Kinter III, R. Leung, P. Moin, L. Ohno-Machado, C. Parris, I. Qualters, I. Thiele, C. Tucker, R. Willett, and X. Ye. The report was sponsored by the Department of Energy (Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Biological and Environmental Research), the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute, Office of Data Science Strategy, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering), the National Science Foundation (Engineering Directorate, Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate), and the Department of Defense (Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

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K.W. was the committee chair and B.S. was the study director for the NASEM study committee that produced the 2023 report1.

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Correspondence to Karen Willcox.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Willcox, K., Segundo, B. The role of computational science in digital twins. Nat Comput Sci 4, 147–149 (2024).

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