DAFNI is developing a powerful computer system capable of revolutionising the UK's planning for extreme events, such as flooding or power outages. It is part of the UK Government's £138 million UKCRIC (UK Collaboration for Research and Infrastructure in Cities) project to provide a resilient infrastructure and essential services – energy, transport, digital communications, water supply and flood defences, for example.
Participants at this week's event were treated to a day of talks and interactive workshop sessions to look at the future direction of DAFNI, mapping existing knowledge and data onto a directional roadmap and identifying where effort needs to be focused. For instance, the challenge of modelling a city infrastructure in relation to population growth; taking information on where people live or will be living, the types of homes they occupy, how many occupants there are etc. and then assessing their energy needs, access to work and services, their environment and the shape of the economy.
The workshop sessions covered a number of scenarios including population modelling, buried infrastructure and multimodal transport
Jim Hall, Director of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and Principal Investigator for DAFNI, said, "The workshop was a significant milestone for the DAFNI delivery programme. We have made a lot of progress since the launch event last July, having almost completed the requirements specification for DAFNI. The workshop demonstrated that the user community has growing confidence in our approach to dealing with security and licensing.“
Geoff McBride, STFC's theme leader of Global Food Security and Agri-Tech and STFC representative in the UK Water Partnership, said, “I'm very inspired by the project and am happy to advocate where ever I can. This is a rapidly expanding area in data intensive science within STFC, for supporting and empowering next generation multi-disciplinary research communities of crucial importance for the future of our nation."
Dr Erica Yang, STFC's leader of the DAFNI programme, said "The success of this event gives the early demonstration of the strength and capability of STFC Scientific Computing in constructing and delivering a large scale complex data analytics facility. The level of responses from the participants, including academia, public sector, and industry, sends us a clear signal that the community oriented co-design and co-development approach we are undertaking is of crucial importance to address the highly complex and rapidly evolving research challenges of urban infrastructure modelling and simulation community".
Launched in July 2017, DAFNI will host quality national infrastructure datasets, provide access to new high-performance computing facilities and advance research through an integrated computational and data platform. It is now embarking on a three year implementation, validation and verification programme, working with others to develop the computational services required to underpin the next generation of modelling and simulation needs.
" Scientific Computing's Sam Chorlton, who is the DAFNI Technical Architect, said, "This event demonstrated a shared knowledge and appreciation of the complexities of problems that DAFNI undertakes. It was a good platform for engaging with potential future stakeholders."
DAFNI is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
DAFNI launch press release