Glossary of Terms

Terms associated with digital engineering and innovation:

The following section provides a brief definition of terms that are frequently used to describe digital engineering and innovation practices.


Digital Engineering

A deliberate transformational approach to the way systems are designed, engineered, constructed, operated, maintained, and retired..

Digital Thread

An interconnected software exchange of data that comes from integrating systems and data to create a holistic and connected data flow.

Digital Twin

The computational simulation of a physical process or system that has a live link to the physical system, enabling enhanced verification of the simulation, control of the physical system, and analysis of trends via artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The simulation of human intelligence in computers or computer-controlled robots, allowing them to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

Machine Learning

The application of AI that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. 

Operational AI

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) in energy systems to automate expensive and manual human activities and improve the efficiency of asset operations.

Next Gen AI

The simulation of human intelligence in computers or computer-controlled robots, allowing them to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

Data Resilience

Integrity validation processes used in the development of machine learning models, safeguarding data’s ability to “bounce back” whenever it has been compromised.

Data Science

An interdisciplinary field that uses scientific algorithms, methods, and techniques to extract valuable insights from structured and unstructured data.

Decision Science

A subset of data science used to produce data-driven insights for the purposes of planning and policy development.

Computing Platform

A computational architecture with the right-sized deployment of high-performance computing, public/community cloud, and edge-device computing.

Authoritative source of truth (AST)

The primary means of ensuring the credibility and coherence of a digital artifact that can be shared with stakeholders throughout a project’s entire lifecycle. A framework for ensuring the integrity of enabling technological systems.

Digital Artifact

Any combination of professional data, information, knowledge, or wisdom expressed in digital form and exchanged within a digital ecosystem.

Center of excellence (CoE)

A group of people leading an organization in a specific focus area toward defined goals. A focal point for knowledge management and the ability to capture new expertise and practices from sources inside and outside the business.

Model-Based Enterprise (MBE)

An engineering strategy aimed at clarifying the manufacturing process using a 3D model-based definition (MBD) improving efficiency and quality and reducing costs.

Model-Based Definition (MBD)

A dataset of comprehensive 3D information – geometry features, annotation of required tolerances, manufacturing instructions, etc. – specifying a complete product definition.

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

The practice of developing related system models that define, design, and document a system under development. “(An) efficient way to explore, update, and communicate system aspects to stakeholders while significantly reducing or eliminating dependence on traditional documents.” (Scaled Agile, Inc.)

Technical Data Package (TDP)

A technical description that contains the engineering data and descriptive documentation required to support a system throughout its lifecycle.

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