MIT Sloan Management Review Article on The Digital Twin Opportunity

  • 7m
  • Costas J. Spanos, Pushkar P. Apte
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2021

Half a century ago, NASA’s moon shot landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon and set fire to our imaginations. Technology innovations from the program went on to seed entire industries, including microelectronics, software, and communications, which now form the backbone of our digital century. Another innovation was that NASA built and maintained a physical twin of the spacecraft on the ground so that it could troubleshoot problems without risk to the mission. This proved crucial during the troubled Apollo 13 mission and helped NASA bring the astronauts home safely. This basic concept has now evolved into the use of digital twins, or DTs — still twins, but built and maintained in the digital rather than physical realm. Fundamentally, a DT is a dynamic model of a physical system that enables fast and creative experimentation at very low cost and risk.

About the Author

Pushkar P. Apte, Ph.D., is director of strategic initiatives at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

Costas J. Spanos, Ph.D., is director at CITRIS and the Banatao Institute and a distinguished professor at UC, Berkeley.

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  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on The Digital Twin Opportunity