Press release

NTT Proposes the “Digital Twin Computing Initiative” – a Platform to Combine High-Precision Digital Information Reflecting the Real World to Synthesize Diverse Virtual Worlds, Generate Novel Services and Bring about Society of the Future

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Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (TOKYO: 9432) (Head office,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan; Jun Sawada, President & CEO; hereinafter
referred to as “NTT”) has established the “Digital Twin Computing
Initiative” as an innovation platform for digital transformation to meet
the demands of the coming era for rapid, dynamic transformations of
human societies and economies and realize smart societies [1].

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Digital Twin Computing aims to transcend the limits of conventional ICT
technology by creating diversified cyberspace easily from highly precise
digital information reflecting real-world objects such as things, humans
and societies, to achieve not only extremely advanced and profound
communications, but also achieve large-scale, high-accuracy predictions
and simulations of the future. Thus, this initiative also aims to help
to solve various social problems around the world, help to create
innovative new services and accelerate the creation of smart societies.

The Digital Twin Computing Initiative is part of the Innovative Optical
and Wireless Network (IOWN) initiative [2] promoted by NTT.

1. Background to conceptualization

NTT has continued to contribute to the achievement of the modern digital
society through its ubiquitous provision of high-speed, broadband
communications networks and safe, secure information systems. Meanwhile,
digitalization for humans from telephony through to email and social
media, and for things from maps through to digital appliances and
self-driving cars has dramatically advanced. In future, more advanced
digital societies will emerge and more closely unify the real world of
things, humans and societies and their high-precision digital
information counterparts in cyberspace.
These will be the
highly-digitalized next-generation societies in which further expansion
of human knowledge and emotional expression through large-scale,
high-accuracy predictions will be enabled by high-precision digital
information in cyberspace seamlessly linked to the real world.
Furthermore, these societies will be capable of more advanced and more
social communications (e.g. consensus building and decision-making) than
the conventional, familiar communications (e.g. knowledge sharing and
human collaboration).
To clear a path for this future society, NTT
has established the “Digital Twin Computing Initiative” as a new
information and communication initiative to undertake with its future

2. About Digital Twin Computing (Figure 1)

“Digital twins” have been mainly gaining attention in such fields as
manufacturing. A digital twin is digital information that accurately
represents features (e.g. shapes, conditions and manufacturing
processes) of things such as machine parts [3]. Digital
information about humans such as images obtained from medical appliances
(e.g. MRI or CT scans) can also be thought of as digital twins.
contrast, our proposed “Digital Twin Computing (DTC)” is a computing
paradigm which expands on the above conventional digital twin concept by
enabling humans and things in the real world to be recreated and
interact without restrictions in cyberspace with “digital twin
operations” – computations to exchange, converge, replicate and
synthesize multiple digital twins.
While conventional digital twins
have been mainly used for digital observation or control of physical
objects, DTC aims to expand the scope of such digitalization from things
to humans and enhance communications among humans and things in

3. The future achievable with Digital Twin Computing

DTC will enable the solutions to a variety of social problems and
innovative services described below.

[Simulations at Earth and Outer Space scales] Virtual societies in
cyberspace using large-scale digital twins to reproduce global-scale
natural conditions (e.g. climate and reserves of resources) or social
changes (e.g. populations and GDP) can be constructed to create
high-accuracy prediction models for simulating and predicting the near
future. These simulations and predictions can be applied to policies for
sustainable development goals (SDGs), etc. based on the obtained
global-scale resource balance forecasts. Moreover, combining the digital
twins of real-world cities (e.g. Tokyo and San Francisco) with outer
space digital twins to produce balance simulations of the atmosphere,
water, food, and energy will contribute to space development.

[Discovery and resolution of urban issues] Digital twins of cities and
their citizens can be used to anonymously collect the experiences,
cultures, values, desires and complaints of the citizens. These digital
twins can be used to discover latent problems in cities that usually go
unnoticed such as dangerous intersections and high accident rate areas,
and find solutions optimized for collectives. Also, these digital twins
can be used to simulate synergies with other cities and generate “sister
cities” with similarities or mutually complementary and unexpected
combinations leading to new collaborative relationships for building
wealthier cities.

[Prediction and control of diseases] To combat the outbreak of an
infectious disease, virtual societies can be created in cyberspace by
combining geographical and transport information, etc. with digital
twins of people mapping their activity and relationship patterns to
accurately make predictions of the spread of the infection and enable
real-time active control of the outbreak by controlling the flows of
transport and humans, making decisions about class closures in schools
or remote learning, and by enabling automatic search and reservation of
the most appropriate hospitals.

[Multifaceted personal decision-making] Recording your work skills into
a digital twin will allow you to have the digital twin perform daily
tasks such as scheduling or making bookings for meeting rooms. In
addition, your digital twin could be replicated so that you can alter
the digital version of your past self, various situations or
pre-supposed knowledge and engage in dialogue between your real-world
self and your altered digital twin to attempt to uncover solutions to
various problems. Moreover, a number of your digital twins could debate
at super high-speed in cyberspace to discover solutions or perspectives
that you might not be able to see.

4. The platform driving Digital Twin Computing (Figure 2)

The DTC platform consists of the following four layers; the
“Cyber/physical interaction layer”, a layer to collect the
physical-world data required to generate a digital twin, and to submit
feedback to the physical-world from the application running on the
platform; the “Digital twin layer”, a layer to generate and maintain
digital twins using data received from the Cyber/physical interaction
layer; the “Digital world presentation layer”, a layer to provide the
framework to invoke digital twin operations using digital twins stored
in the Digital twin layer; and the “Application layer”, a layer to
easily create DTC applications using the digital world presentation
As a crucial aspect of this achievement, the privacy of
humans and the intentions of the owners of things must be fully
respected and information related to them must be handled with all the
necessary care. Thus, this platform must be equipped with security
mechanisms to preserve privacy.

5. Going forward

The success of the Digital Twin Computing Initiative will depend on
intimate cooperation across wide-ranging fields of research and
technology such as the social sciences, the humanities, natural and
applied sciences and interdisciplinary fields. NTT Laboratories aim to
achieve the Digital Twin Computing Initiative by collaborating with
future professionals and global partners across these wide-ranging
fields of research and technology. For details about this Initiative,
please refer to the white paper at

[1] NTT Group Mid-term Management Strategy “Your Value Partner 2025” (in
[2] Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN)
Dr. Michael Grieves, Digital Twin: Manufacturing Excellence through
Virtual Factory Replication, 2015