We are looking for two researchers on the subject of 'digital twins-oriented virtual research environment and infrastructure services'. The positions will be funded by the NWO project LTER-LIFE. LTER-LIFE is a large-scale research infrastructure in the making; it aims to provide a state-of-the-art e-infrastructure to study and predict how changes in climate and other human-induced pressures affect ecosystems and biodiversity.
One of the grand challenges in ecology is to understand and predict how ecosystems are impacted by changes in environmental conditions, and external pressures. Predicting how complex ecosystems will behave under different scenarios requires combining empirical and observational data. To truly predict how ecosystems and landscapes will respond to current and future global change, we need to increase the availability of existing environmental long-term datasets, integrate disparate types of ecological data, and create a user-friendly and secure cloud-based digital modelling and simulation platform that can be used to link data to models and scenarios. This can be done by creating Digital Twins of entire ecosystems.
A Digital Twin is "a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity". Building Digital Twins of ecosystems has only recently become possible as Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and analytics, advanced computing infrastructure, and the FAIR principles have been developed and made available for ecology, ecosystem restoration, and biodiversity science. This approach brings together data scientists, informaticians, and ecologists in research communities around ecosystems. Detailed information on the LTER-LIFE project can be found here
.What are you going to do?
The researchers will be embedded in the MultiScale Networked System
(MNS) group, informatics institute at the University of Amsterdam. The candidate will work in an interdisciplinary team with domain scientists, modelers, and data curators to tackle the software challenges in developing virtual research environments and infrastructure services needed for constructing specific digital twins required by the ecological research domains.
The researchers will focus on the software challenges in developing digital twins for large-scale ecosystems, and aim to deliver reusable software tools and platforms for facilitating the construction of digital twins.Tasks and responsibilities
Working in an interdisciplinary team, the candidates will:
- interview the (potential) users of the LTER-LIFE and digital twins, and analyse technical requirements for constructing ecology domain-specific digital twins;
- review the state-of-the-art and technical gaps for developing digital twin;
- design the system architecture of digital twin-oriented virtual research environment;
- provide effective infrastructure services for sharing, discovering, accessing and integrating digital twin-related components, tools, models, and data;
- develop software integration solutions and required core algorithms for constructing digital twins together with the data specialists, modelers, and end users;
- develop reusable software framework towards a digital twin-enabled cloud virtual research environment which can be used by the domain specialists to develop new digital twins;
- collaborate with the researchers and developers from other domains and collect feedback from (potential) users to validate and improve the developed software system.