Simulation engineering and digital twins

Applying model-driven engineering to make developing digital twins and other simulations easier, cheaper, and safer

Digital twins are digital representations of real-world assets that are kept in sync and allow in-silico experimentation, reducing cost and risk. Developing them requires significant modelling and simulation expertise and can only be achieved by bringing together a wider range of expertise. Many of the key stakeholders don’t have the technical expertise for software development, but the software developers don’t have the domain expertise. Trust in digital twins is essential, but difficult to maintain because of this gap in expertise and the resulting lack of transparency.

These challenges make this a particularly fruitful area of application for model-driven engineering. Domain-specific modelling languages (DSMLs) will allow capturing domain knowledge explicitly and can act as the interface between domain and simulation engineering, including supporting the capture and maintenance of trust arguments. We need to develop the technology for this.

There are lots of exciting application domains in which to do this research. Current and previous students have worked in healthcare and computational biology. Finance, security, supply-chain management, construction / civil engineering, and other engineering areas are all relevant areas of application.


Journal Articles


  1. Trustworthy agent-based simulation: the case for domain-specific modelling languages
    Steffen Zschaler, and Fiona A. C. Polack
    Software and Systems Modelling 22(2), 2023
  2. Model-Driven Engineering of Digital Twins (Dagstuhl Seminar 22362)
    Loek CleophasThomas Godfrey, Djamel Eddine Khelladi, and 4 more authors
    Dagstuhl Reports 12(9), 2023


  1. Report on Workshop: Planning the Future of Agent Simulation
    Fiona Polack, and Steffen Zschaler
    Artificial Life Journal 26(2), 2020

Conference and Workshop Papers


  1. Supporting Emergency Department Risk Mitigation with a Modular and Reusable Agent-Based Simulation Infrastructure
    Thomas GodfreySteffen Zschaler, Rahul Batra, and 4 more authors
    In 2023 Winter Simulation Conference, 2023
    Also presented at ‘Modellierung 2024’


  1. A Methodology for DSML-assisted Participatory Agent-Based Enterprise Modelling
    Thomas Godfrey, Rahul Batra, Sam Douthwaite, and 3 more authors
    In 15th IFIP WG 8.1 Working Conference on the Practice of Enterprise Modelling (PoEM’22), 2022
  2. A Community-Sourced View on Engineering Digital Twins: A Report from the EDT Community
    Loek CleophasThomas Godfrey, Djamel Eddine Khelladi, and 6 more authors
    In 2nd International Workshop on Model-Driven Engineering of Digital Twins – ModDiT’22, 2022


  1. A Family of Languages for Trustworthy Agent-Based Simulation
    Steffen Zschaler, and Fiona Polack
    In 13th International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE’20), 2020