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Collaborative Modelling - Sharing Data Without Giving Away Your Secrets

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In this episode David Golightly and Ken Pierce from Newcastle University talk about the work they've been doing with the railway using the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI). It's a tool that allows data outputs from different models to be used collaboratively to get richer answers, without giving away commercially sensitive and valuable intellectual property.

The FMI has the potential to remove barriers to sharing data sources within the railway and beyond. It has already been used in RSSB's work on decarbonisation. David and Ken see further potential for the FMI in the areas of sustainability and performance.

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Topics in this episode include:

  • David introduces himself and how he came to his current work for the railway. [1:30]
  • Ken introduces himself and how he came to his current work for the railway. [2:02]
  • Ken describes the FMI and how it works. [3:00]
  • Ken talks about how the FMI can remove the need to open up your intellectual property. A Functional Mock-up Unit allows companies to share their data outputs without giving away how they delivered those outputs. FMI also allows outputs from older, legacy models to be used alongside those of newer models. [6:14]
  • Dave talks about how FMI was used to support some of RSSB's work on decarbonisation. In particular, how different models from across the railway have been used to assess the impacts of individual aspects of performance on the overall efficiency of the whole system. Also, how models from outside the railway could be tested for potential benefits. [8:43]
  • Dave talks about other areas, beyond decarbonisation, such as operational performance and infrastructure construction, where FMI could be applied. [11:54]
  • Ken talks about his previous experience of using FMI in the automotive industry, where potential OEM components have been tested in simulation before being ordered, manufactured and shipped. He also describes how a small Danish tractor manufacturer used FMI to collaborate with software vendors and with farmers to adapt their products to meet customers' needs before actually building a tractor. [13:50]
  • Dave talks about the opportunities that they see for FMI to benefit the rail industry. The first is using the Cloud for modelling and simulation collaboration. This should allow smaller companies to test their products in larger, system models before any commercial commitments are made, which will open up a much wider supply chain for the industry. [17:51]
  • Dave talks about the potential uses in human performance modelling that could predict how overall railway system performance might be affected. [19:44]
  • Ken talks about how he sees FMI being able to support the vision for Great British Railways. For example, taking a lead from automotive, the performance characteristics of a product or solution can be tested within a system before a contract is issued. FMI compliant models might also become a requirement of tendering processes, potentially opening up the market to new, smaller suppliers. [21:14]
  • Dave adds his thoughts on how the Williams-Shapps plan for rail is about delivering systems solutions, and how FMI can support this aim. [23:28]
  • Close.  [24:08]

Resources related to this episode:

RSSB podcasts cover a range of topics to keep you informed about things that will lead us all toward a better, safer railway. 'All our podcasts can be accessed from our podcast page.

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