Sector - Consultancy

Conference to unveil world-leading infrastructure data analysis and research tool

With Climate change impacting our nation, it is now more important than ever to understand how we can better prepare the UK for extreme events. On 10th June DAFNI, the National Platform that will provide the UK with infrastructure data analysis and previously unseen levels of computer performance providing greater insights to inform policy decisions and therefore lead the world in our ability to prepare for these extreme events – will be unveiled.

“With increasing pressure on budgets and lack of certainty regarding the effects of extreme events, it is essential to understand more comprehensively the impact of investments into our nation’s economic infrastructure. Making the right choices about planning and investing in infrastructure is critical to the UK’s prosperity and quality of life,” says Samuel Charlton, DAFNI project lead.

Landmark development for infrastructure and investment in future resilience

“The launch of the DAFNI system represents a monumental milestone in developing the UK’s Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure. The team at STFC, based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell, have been working extraordinarily hard for the last two years to get us to this point of having working version of DAFNI which really demonstrates the transformative potential of infrastructure data, modelling and simulation.” Professor Jim Hall, Director of ITRC.

DAFNI is the Data & Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure to advance UK infrastructure research, is funded by an £8M investment from the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). DAFNI is based at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Harwell, Oxfordshire and managed by the Scientific Computing Department (SCD) of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Accelerate analysis, policies and informed investments

The importance of DAFNI is acknowledged at the highest levels of government. In October 2018 Chancellor Philip Hammond has commissioned a study on infrastructure resilience to identify how resilient the UK’s infrastructure is now and what needs to change to improve resilience and minimise cascade failures.

In his letter commissioning the study, the Chancellor notes that “The development of the Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI) provides a particular opportunity to undertake an in-depth analysis of resilience, working with key stakeholders.”

Revolutionising infrastructure insights

Mark Enzer, chief technical officer at Mott MacDonald and chair of the Digital Framework Task Group for the Centre for Digital Built Britain, comments, “We now find ourselves in a place where the vision of effective information management across infrastructure is no longer an impossible dream.

“Effective digital twins are becoming a reality and secure, resilient data sharing between organisations is entirely achievable. This will revolutionise infrastructure and deliver better outcomes per whole-life pound for people in the UK. And DAFNI is a key part of this, leading the way on analytics and the sharing of infrastructure insights to inform better decisions at a national scale.”

Modelling smart infrastructure

Infrastructure and connected infrastructure systems are in a period of great change.

“We are witnessing transformation of infrastructure systems because of digitisation – yet sensors, big data and smart phones will not on their own deliver better infrastructure services. We need to bring together the right types of data, and we need models and analysis that can extract dependable knowledge. DAFNI will take the science of infrastructure data, modelling, simulation and visualisation into an entirely new space.” Professor Jim Hall, Director of ITRC.

Underpinning cross-sector collaboration

“DAFNI provides the UK research community with a fantastic opportunity to carry out world-leading infrastructure data science by providing the secure computational resources necessary to facilitate the next generation of infrastructure research,” explains Dr Edward Oughton of University of Oxford. “It leads the way in facilitating industry, government and academia working together to deliver the best investment decisions for the UK.”

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