Digital Twin

Enabling simulation verification, physical system control and analysis of trends using computation simulations via AI and machine learning.

Digital Twins represent the merging of digital thread, controls theory, artificial intelligence, and online monitoring into a single cohesive unit, a virtual model that comprehensively captures all relevant aspects of the underlying system, utilizing bidirectional communication to track and trend both simulated and measured physical responses. This enables continuous improvement of the models to gain the greatest insight into process performance and optimization. By utilizing open-source model integrations and data stores, our digital twins provide the greatest value by utilizing existing models to their greatest extent while avoiding undesirable and costly vendor lock-in.

Collaborations & Projects:

The cost of failing to create sufficiently integrated digital engineering systems for large-scale projects is abundantly evident in the nuclear industry and elsewhere. For example, the European Aeronautic Defense & Space (EADS) Airbus 380 program suffered approximately $6.1 billion in losses due to a lack of data integration between design applications used by the various teams. This software interoperability issue caused 20 months of delays and a loss in program confidence ( On the other hand, when the digital thread is enabled, many positive outcomes will follow. General Electric Digital lists positive outcomes of digital twins including 93–99.49% increased reliability, 40% reduced reactive maintenance, 75% reduced time to achieve outcomes, and the avoidance of $11 million lost in production by detecting and preventing three failures (

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) Program

The development of new advanced reactors (Gen IV) increases the importance of new methods to understand diversion and misuse scenarios, and determine mitigation pathways. INL is developing a complete digital twin framework for safeguards by design. This provides the opportunity for comprehensive understanding of nuclear fuel cycle facility operations to significantly strengthen nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation regime.


Diamond (Data Integration Aggregated Model and Ontology for Nuclear Deployment)

DIAMOND is a nuclear ontology. An ontology is a collection of concepts and relationships within a given domain. It is an extensible document that contains the classes, properties, and relationships that make up that domain. DIAMOND is a Web Ontology Language (OWL) document. OWL is an extension of XML that provides the ability to represent the various constructs in an ontology. DIAMOND acts as a standard taxonomy for the nuclear domain by which data sources can be integrated together through a common format. While DIAMOND is only a data model, when acting as the central schema for Deep Lynx it enables a model to which all integrating data sources can be mapped.

Deep Lynx

A data warehouse technology that can enable the digital thread across an organization by serving as the central point of data aggregation and exchange. Deep Lynx is built on the relational database PostgreSQL, but stores data in a graph-like format. This enables data to be exported to graph databases for analysis and for data to be queried in a graph-like format. When a data source sends data to Deep Lynx, that data is mapped to a central schema (or ontology) in Deep Lynx. This central schema creates a common data format to which all data is mapped.


RAVEN ( is a flexible and multi-purpose probabilistic risk assessment, uncertainty quantification, artificial intelligence, data analysis and model optimization framework. Depending on the tasks to be accomplished and, in case, on the probabilistic (or not) characterization of the problem, RAVEN perturbs (e.g., Monte Carlo, Latin hypercube, reliability surface search, AI-guided, etc.) the response of the system to be analyzed altering the input parameters. The system is modeled by third party software (e.g. RELAP5-3D, MAAP5, BISON, etc.) and accessible to RAVEN either directly (software coupling) or indirectly (via input/output files). The outcomes of the sampling process are analyzed using statistical and data mining approaches. RAVEN also manages the parallel dispatching (i.e. both on desktop/workstation and large HPC systems) of the software representing the physical model. RAVEN relies on artificial intelligence algorithms to construct surrogate models of complex physical systems to accelerate the analysis. RAVEN can be employed for several types of applications, such as UQ, Sensitivity Analysis, PRA, Regression Analysis, Data Mining, Model Optimization, and design of experiments. An overview of the software is resented at The software itself is open-source and can be downloaded at


Digital ThreadAhmad Al Rashdan, Jeren Browning, Christopher Ritter, “Data Integration Aggregated Model and Ontology for Nuclear Deployment (DIAMOND): Preliminary Model and Ontology”, September 11, 2019.
Digital ThreadChristopher Ritter, Jeren Browning, Lee Nelson, Tammie Borders, John Bumgardner, Mitchell Kerman, “Digital Engineering Ecosystem for Future Nuclear Power Plants: Innovation of Ontologies, Tools, and Data Exchange”, October 29, 2019.
Digital TwinChristopher Ritter, Jeren Browning, Lee Nelson, Tammie Borders, John Bumgardner, Mitchell Kerman, “Digital Engineering Ecosystem for Future Nuclear Power Plants: Innovation of Ontologies, Tools, and Data Exchange”, October 29, 2019.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAgarwal, V., N. Lybeck, B. Pham, R. Rusaw, and R. Bickford, 2015, “Asset fault signatures for prognostic and health management in the nuclear industry,” IEEE Reliability Digest, February 2015.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAgarwal, V., N. Lybeck, B. Pham, R. Rusaw, and R. Bickford, 2015, “Prognostic and health management of active assets in nuclear power plants,” International Journal of Prognostics and Health Management, Special Issue on Nuclear Energy PHM, 6:1–17.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAl Rashdan, A., J. Smith, S. St. Germain, C. Ritter, V. Agarwal, R. Boring, T. Ulrich, and J. Hansen, 2018, “Development of a technology roadmap for online monitoring of nuclear power plants,” INL/EXT-18-52206, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAl Rashdan, A., and T. Mortenson, 2018, “Automation technologies impact on the work process of nuclear power plants,” INL/EXT-18-51457, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAl Rashdan, A. and D. Roberson, 2019, “A frequency domain control perspective on xenon resistance for load following of thermal nuclear reactors,” IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science., Vol. 66, No. 9, pp. 2034–2041.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAl Rashdan, A., C. Krome, S. St. Germain, J. Corporan, K. Ruppert, and J. Rosenlof, 2019, “Method and application of data integration at a nuclear power plant,” INL/EXT-19-54294, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAl Rashdan, A., M. Griffel, R. Boza, and D. P. Guillen, 2019, “Subtle process anomalies detection using machine learning methods,” INL/EXT-19-55629, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceAlamamiotis, M., and V. Agarwal, 2014, “Fuzzy integration of support vector regression models for anticipatory control of complex energy systems,” International Journal of Monitoring and Surveillance Technologies Research, 2(2):26–40.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceFarber, J., D. Cole, A. Al Rashdan, and V. Yadav, 2019. “Using kernel density estimation to detect loss-of-coolant accidents in a pressurized water reactor,” Nuclear Technology, special issue on Big Data for Nuclear Power Plants, 205(8):1043–1052.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceGarcia, H., S. Aumeier, and A. Al Rashdan, 2019, “Integrated state awareness through secure embedded intelligence in nuclear systems: Opportunities and implications,” Nuclear Science and Engineering, accepted for publication. DOI:10.1080/00295639.2019.1698237.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceGarcia, H., S. Aumeier, A. Al Rashdan, and B. Rolston, 2020, “Secure embedded intelligence in nuclear systems: Framework and methods,” Annals of Nuclear Energy, accepted for publication. DOI:10.1016/j.anucene.2019.107261.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceGentillon, C., C. L. Atwood, A. L. Mack, and Z. Ma, 2020, “Evaluation of weakly informed priors for FLEX data,” INL/EXT-20-58327, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceGuillen, D., N. Anderson, C. Krome, R. Boza, M. Griffel, J. Zouabe, and A. Al-Rashdan, 2019, “The application of physics-informed machine-learning to predict drywell cooling fan failure,” In: Proceedings of the Big Data for Nuclear Power Plants Workshop 2019.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceManjunatha, K, A. L. Mack, V. Agarwal, D. Adams, and D. Koester, 2020, “Diagnosis of corrosion processes in nuclear power plants secondary piping structures,” ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference, July – August (held virtually).
Operational Artificial IntelligenceMandelli, D., C. Wang, S. Staples, C. S. Ritter, A. L. Mack, S. W. St. Germain, A. Alfonsi, C. Rabiti, and R. Kunz, 2018, “Cost risk analysis framework (CRAFT): An integrated risk analysis tool and its application in an industry use case,” INL/EXT-18-51442, Idaho Falls, ID, USA.
Cyber & Data Resilience Pillar"Data Fidelity: Security's Soft Underbelly" (RCIS 2017),"Data Fidelity in the Post-Truth Era" (ICCWS 2018)
Decision Sciences & VisualizationToba, A.L., Griffel, L.M., & Hartley, D.S., (2020). Devs Based Modeling and Simulation of Agricultural Machinery Movement. In Press, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationHartley, D.S., Thompson, D. N.; Griffel, L. M., Nguyen, Q. A and Roni, M.S. 2020. The effect of biomass properties and system configuration on the operating effectiveness of biomass to biofuel systems. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. In Press. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b06551
Decision Sciences & VisualizationWang, Y, Wang, J, Schuler, J, Hartley, D., Volk, T and Eisenbies, M. 2020. Optimization of harvest and logistics for multiple lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks in the northeastern United States. Energy (197)117260. DOI: 10.1016/
Decision Sciences & VisualizationWahlen, B. D., Wendt, L. M., Murphy, A., Thompson, V. S., Hartley, D. S., Dempster, T. and Gerken, H. 2020. Preservation of Microalgae, Lignocellulosic Biomass Blends by Ensiling to Enable Consistent Year-Round Feedstock Supply for Thermochemical Conversion to Biofuels. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.(8)316. DOI:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00316
Decision Sciences & VisualizationMeyer, P. A., Snowden-Swan, L. J., Jones, S. B., Rappe, K. G. and Hartley, D. S. 2020. The effect of feedstock composition on fast pyrolysis and upgrading to transportation fuels: Techno-economic analysis and greenhouse gas life cycle analysis. Fuel (259)116218. DOI:10.1016/j.fuel.2019.116218
Decision Sciences & VisualizationGriffel, L. M., Vazhnik, V., Hartley, D. S., Hansen, J. K., and Roni, M. 2020. Agricultural field shape descriptors as predictors of field efficiency for perennial grass harvesting: An empirical proof. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture (168)105088. DOI: 10.1016/j.compag.2019.105088
Decision Sciences & VisualizationAbou Ali, H., Delparte, D., & Griffel, L. M. (2020). From Pixel to Yield: Forecasting Potato Productivity in Lebanon and Idaho. The International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 42, 1-7. DOI: 10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-3-W11-1-2020.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationHansen, J. K., Roni, M. S., Nair, S. K., Hartley, D. S., Griffel, L. M., Vazhnik, V., & Mamun, S. 2019. Setting a baseline for Integrated Landscape Design: Cost and risk assessment in herbaceous feedstock supply chains. Biomass and Bioenergy, 130. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2019.105388
Decision Sciences & VisualizationJin, H., Reed, D. W., Thompson, V. S., Fujita, Y., Jiao, Y., Crain-Zamora, M., Fisher, J., Scalzone, K., Griffel, L. M., Hartley, D. and Sutherland, J. W. (2019). Sustainable bioleaching of rare earth elements from industrial waste materials using agricultural wastes. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7(18), pp.15311-15319. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b02584.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationRoni, M.S., Thompson, D.N. and Hartley, D.S., 2019. Distributed biomass supply chain cost optimization to evaluate multiple feedstocks for a biorefinery. Applied Energy, 254, p.113660.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationLangholtz, M., Davis, M., Hartley, D., Brandt, C., Hilliard, M., Eaton, L. 2019. Cost and profit impacts of modifying stover harvest operations to improve feedstock quality. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationNarani, A., Konda, N.V.S.N.M, Chen, C.-S., Tachea, F., Coffman, P., Gardner, J., Li, C., Ray, A.E., Hartley, D.S., Simmons, B., Pray, T.R., Tanjore, D. 2019. Simultaneous application of predictive model and least cost formulation can substantially benefit biorefineries outside Corn Belt in United States: A case study in Florida. Bioresource Technology. 271:218-227.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationEmerson, R.M., Hernandez, S., Williams, C.L., Lacey, J.A., Hartley, D.S. 2018. Improving bioenergy feedstock quality of high moisture short rotation woody crops using air classification. Biomass and Bioenergy. 117:56-62
Decision Sciences & VisualizationWendt, L.M., Smith, W.A., Hartley, D.S., Wendt, D.S., Ross, J.A., Sexton, D.M., Lukas, J.C, Nguyen, Q.A., Murphy, A.J., Kenney, K.L. 2018. Techno-economic assessment of a chopped feedstock logistics supply chain for corn stover. Frontiers in Energy Research. 6(90).
Decision Sciences & VisualizationLamers, P., Nyugen,R., Hartley, D., Hansen, J. and Searcy, E., 2018. Biomass market dynamics supporting the large-scale deployment of high-octane fuel production in the United States. GCB Bioenergy. 10(7):460-472
Decision Sciences & VisualizationRoni, M.S., Thompson, D., Hartley, D., Searcy, E. and Nguyen, Q., 2018. Optimal blending management of Biomass Resources Used for Biochemical Conversion. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. 12(4):624-648
Decision Sciences & VisualizationGriffel, L. M., Delparte, D., & Edwards, J. (2018). Using Support Vector Machines classification to differentiate spectral signatures of potato plants infected with Potato Virus Y. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 153, 318-324. DOI: 10.1016/j.compag.2018.08.027.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationOlsson, O., Roos, A., Guisson, R., Bruce, L., Lamers, P., Hektor, B., Thrän, D., Hartley, D., Ponitka, J. and Hildebrandt, J., 2018. Time to tear down the pyramids? A critique of cascading hierarchies as a policy tool. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment.7(2),e279
Decision Sciences & VisualizationNair, S. K., Griffel, L. M., Hartley, D. S., McNunn, G. S., & Kunz, M. R. (2018). Investigating the efficacy of integrating energy crops into non-profitable subfields in Iowa. BioEnergy Research, 11, pp. 623-637. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-018-9925-0.
Decision Sciences & VisualizationNarani, A., Coffman, P., Gardner, J., Li, C., Ray, A.E., Hartley, D.S., Stettler, A., Konda, S.N.M., Simmons, B., Pray, T., Tanjore, D., 2017. Predictive modeling to de-risk bio-based manufacturing by adapting to variability in lignocellulosic biomass supply, Bioresource Technology.243:676-685
Decision Sciences & VisualizationLiu, W, Wang, J., Richard, T., Hartley, D., Spatari, S., Volk,T., 2017. Economic and Life Cycle Analyses of Biomass Utilization for Bioenergy and Bioproducts. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining. 11(4):633-647
Decision Sciences & VisualizationWendt, L.M., Wahlen, B.D., Li, C., Ross, J.A., Sexton, D.A., Lukas, J.A., Hartley, D.S. and Murphy, J.A., 2017. Evaluation of a high-moisture stabilization strategy for harvested microalgae blended with herbaceous biomass: Part II- techno-economic assessment. Algal Research. 25:676-685
Decision Sciences & VisualizationThompson, V.S., Lacey, J.A., Hartley, D.S., Jindra, M. A., Aston, J. E., Thompson, D. N., 2016. Application of air classification and formulation to manage feedstock cost, quality and availability for bioenergy. Fuel, 180: 497-505.
Computing Platforms
Practice & CultureComing Soon!
Next Gen Artificial IntelligenceYonge, Adam, et al. "TAPsolver: A Python package for the simulation and analysis of TAP reactor experiments." arXiv preprint arXiv:2008.13584 (2020)
Next Gen Artificial IntelligenceKunz, M. Ross, et al. "Probability theory for inverse diffusion: Extracting the transport/kinetic time-dependence from transient experiments." Chemical Engineering Journal 402 (2020): 125985
Next Gen Artificial IntelligenceMedford, Andrew J., et al. "Extracting knowledge from data through catalysis informatics." ACS Catalysis 8.8 (2018): 7403-7429
Next Gen Artificial IntelligenceKunz, M. Ross, et al. "Pulse response analysis using the Y-procedure: A data science approach." Chemical Engineering Science 192 (2018): 46-60
Operational Artificial IntelligenceD.P. Guillen, N. Anderson, C. Krome, R. Boza, L. M. Griffel, J. Zouabe, and A. Al Rashdan, 2020, "A RELAP5-3D/LSTM Model for the Analysis of Drywell Cooling Fan Failure," Progress in Nuclear Energy 130, December 2020.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, C. Wang, J. Cogliati, D. Mandelli, C. Rabiti “Status of Adaptive Surrogates within the RAVEN framework”, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, Idaho, INL/EXT 17 43438
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. S. Epiney, A. Alfonsi, C. Parisi, R. Szilard, “RISMC Industry Application #1 (ECCS/LOCA): Core characterization automation: Lattice Codes interface for PHISICS/RELAP5-3D”, Nuclear Engineering and Design, 345, pp-15-27, 2019
Operational Artificial IntelligenceV. Narcisi, P. Lorusso, F. Giannetti, A. Alfonsi, G. Caruso, “Uncertainty Quantification method for RELAP5-3D© using RAVEN and application on NACIE experiments”, Annals of Nuclear Energy, vol. 127, pp. 419-432, 2019
Operational Artificial IntelligenceD. Mandelli, D. Maljovec, A. Alfonsi, C. Parisi, P. Talbot, J. Cogliati, C. Smith, “Mining data in a dynamic PRA framework”, Progress in Nuclear Energy, 108, 99-110, September 2018.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, G. Mesina, A. Zoino, N. Anderson, C. Rabiti, “Combining RAVEN, RELAP5-3D and PHISICS for Fuel Cycle and Core Design Analysis”, ASME Journal of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science, vol. 3, num. 2, # NERS-16-1120
Operational Artificial IntelligenceC. Rabiti, A. Alfonsi, A. S. Epiney, “New Simulation Schemes and Capabilities for the PHISICS/RELAP5-3D Coupled Suite”, Nuclear Science and Engineering, vol.182, num. 1, pp 104-118
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, A. Hummel, J. Chen, G. Strydom, H. Gougar, “Decay Heat Surrogate modeling for High Temperature Reactors”, Proceedings of HTR 2018, Warsaw, Poland, October 8-10, 2018
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, C. Wang, D. Mandelli, C. Rabiti, “Adaptive Surrogates within the RAVEN Framework for Dynamic Probabilistic Risk Assessment Analysis”, Proceeding of Best Estimate Plus Uncertainty International Conference, Lucca, Italy, May 13-18.
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, C. Rabiti, D. Mandelli, "Assembling Multiple Models within the RAVEN Framework", Proceedings of 2017 American Nuclear Society Annual Meeting, June 11-15, 2017, San Francisco
Operational Artificial IntelligenceC. Picoco, T. Aldemir, V. Rychkov, A. Alfonsi, D. Mandelli, C. Rabiti, "Coupling of RAVEN and MAAP5 for the Dynamic Event Tree analysis of Nuclear Power Plants", proceedings of European Safety and Reliability Conference - ESREL, June 18-22, 2017, Portoroz, Slovenia
Operational Artificial IntelligenceD. Mandelli, A. Alfonsi, C. Smith, C. Rabiti, “Generation and Use of Reduced Order Models for Safety Applications Using RAVEN,” Proceedings American Nuclear Society 2015 Winter Meeting, November 8-12, 2015, Washington, DC, US
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, G. Mesina, A. Zoino, C. Rabiti “A fuel cycle and core design analysis method for new cladding acceptance criteria using PHISICS, RAVEN and RELAP5-3D” Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE24), June 26-30, 2016, Charlotte, USA
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, D. Mandelli, C. Rabiti “RAVEN Facing the Problem of assembling Multiple Models to Speed up the Uncertainty Quantification and Probabilistic Risk Assessment Analyses “Proceedings of 13th International Conference on Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management (PSAM 13), Oct. 2-6 2016, Seul, South Korea
Operational Artificial IntelligenceC. Rabiti, D. Mandelli, A. Alfonsi, J. Cogliati, R. Kinoshita “Introduction of Supervised Learning Capabilities of the RAVEN Code for Limit Surface Analysis,” Proceedings American Nuclear Society 2014 Annual Meeting, June 15-19, 2014, Reno, NV, US
Operational Artificial IntelligenceD. Mandelli, C. Smith, C. Rabiti, A. Alfonsi, R. Youngblood, V. Pascucci, B. Wang, D. Maljovec, P. T. Bremer “Dynamic PRA: An Overview of New Algorithms to Generate, Analyze and Visualize Data,” Proceedings American Nuclear Society 2013 Winter Meeting, November 10-14, 2013, Washington, DC
Operational Artificial IntelligenceA. Alfonsi, C. Rabiti, D. Mandelli, J. Cogliati, S. Sen, C. Smith, "Improving Limit Surface Search Algorithms in RAVEN Using Acceleration Schemes," INL/EXT-15-36100, July 2015

Our Team:

Ross Hays

Digital Twin Lead

Mohammad Abdo

Team Member

Andrea Alfonsi

Team Member

Chandu Bolisetti

Team Member

Andrea Mack

Team Member

Josh Peterson-Droogh

Team Member

Vaibhav Yadav

Team Member

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