David M. Nicol

Franklin W. Woeltge Professor of ECE,
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Director, Information Trust Institute
Director, Advanced Digital Sciences Center
Director, Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute


David M. Nicol is the Franklin W. Woeltge Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he also serves as the Director of the Information Trust Institute, and Director of the Advanced Digital Sciences Center (Singapore). He has a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College (1979), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science (1985) from the University of Virginia. Professor Nicol's research interests encompass high performance computing, discrete system modeling and simulation, and end-to-end modeling/analysis of cyber-security, resilience, and trust in complex systems. He served as Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation (1997-2003) and since 2018 has served as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE's flagship publication on cyber-security, IEEE Security and Privacy. He was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2003, Fellow of the ACM in 2006, and in 2007 was the inaugural recipient of the ACM SIGSIM Distinguished Contributions award.

The Challenges of Repeatability and Fidelity of Cyber-Physical Digital Twins

A digital twin of a cyber-physical system is a simulation whose execution mimics the behavior of both the physical and cyber components of the system. While the idea of co-joining or federating simulations has been considered for quite a long time, the rise in interest of cyber-physical systems, coupled with increased computational power has brought the idea to the forefront under the labeling of 'digital twin'. Uses include exploration of how cyber malfeasance might negatively impact the physical system, how the physical system may react to unusual inputs or boundary conditions, whether a particular control applied to the system will push it into a region of unsafe behavior. Fidelity of digital twins is clearly a desirable attribute, as is repeatability. In the former case we want confidence that the digital twin faithfully (enough) captures the behavior of interest, in the latter case we need to be able to understand, by replying the simulation, how a particular behavior observed in the simulation came to occur. This talk focuses on the challenges of repeatability and fidelity in a cyber-physical digital twin, when that twin combines classical simulation with emulation of executing software.


*2nd Keynote Speaker To Be Confirmed*