Future Infrastructure Systems Symposium: Review

Posted on: 03/04/2017

On Wednesday, March 22nd, over 80 senior industry professionals attended the first Innovate UK Future Infrastructure Systems Symposium.

On Wednesday, March 22nd, over 80 senior industry professionals arrived at the offices of Digital Greenwich to attend the first Innovate UK Future Infrastructure Systems Symposium. Broadly themed around the topic of engineering integrated infrastructure systems, they heard from a wide range of presenters including: Fiona Carleton at Future Heathrow and Trevor Dorling at Digital Greenwich, who described their need to change the approach to utilising infrastructure to better meet the needs of the travelling public and citizen. Key aspects of those challenges included better characterisation of existing infrastructure capacity and use, and better integration of modes of transport, service and related information to keep users informed.
In response, Professor Brian Collins of UCL, gave a short overview of UKCRIC, a major UK research investment in this important area. Matt Ives from Oxford University’s ITRC research centre talked about their modelling and simulation work for the National Infrastructure Commission and Phil Cavanagh of Improbable gave an excellent demonstration of Spatial OS delivering extensive modelling capabilities using real data sets from urban environments. A key tool for designing future infrastructure delivery. Nick Bromley gave a colourful talk on the challenges in shifting towards an autonomous vehicle economy Рanalogous to switching to driving on the right in the UK Рhe claimed. Jonathan Raper gave another outstanding talk on the evolution of the Tranportapi platform, a key ingredient in applications such as CityMapper, and now used at Heathrow and other key infrastructure operators in the UK.

A session on Systems Engineering gave a feel for what is meant by Complex Systems, Infrastructure Systems and Integrated Information. Hillary Sillitto talked about the emergence of Systems Engineering as an essential discipline for building complex systems. Giuliano Punzo, Sheffield University, gave one or two examples of these and Paul Watson, Newcastle University, talked about the challenges of data stewardship and efficacy in providing effective stimulus for decision making in complex environments.
Finally, our colleagues at Innovate UK talked about their ambitions in Infrastructure Systems, their desire to connect more closely with the practitioners and researched in this space, their strategy for Integration of Future Infrastructure Systems, with an example from James Taplin of the Future Cities initiative now under way. Paul Gadd talked about a forthcoming Autonomous Vehicle competition. The event was rounded off with presentation of the Literature Survey work done on behalf of the KTN by the University of Edinburgh represented by Professor Gordon Masterton and Dr Simon Smith. This report entitled: “Exploring Complex Systems at the Heart of¬†Future Infrastructure‚Äù is now available together with the conference presentations here.
Further events in this series will be announced on the KTN website and will address the key sectors of Energy Systems, Connected Transport and Future Cities.  Contact Ian Osborne if you are interested in the topic of integrated infrastructure systems or complex systems engineering and get involved with the KTN working groups in this area.

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