The Iliad Methodology

Agile driven development
The Iliad Methodology

The Iliad Methodology is based on user-driven agile development with yearly increments and iteration, including co-design and active participation from the involved stakeholder groups as depicted in the above table with Phases and Milestones.

The co-design of the development and operational process for the Iliad DTO involves integrating digital twins (DTs), capitalising on existing data, methods, tools, and infrastructures. The process will first create and validate requirements and then define the mock-ups which lead to product definitions (MVP). These DTs are both market-push and technology-driven and are representative of several European seas. A modern agile development procedure is used where the DTs are very early in the project phase setup (rapid-prototypes) and iteratively improved with technology, data, models, and user feedback from Iliad’s other work packages. Several rounds of implementation (agile development) by the partners and stakeholder engagements will successively occur once a DT milestone is achieved. Indicators for the WP1 success will be three project milestones. The first one is the creation of the mock-ups, the second is the implementation of already available data, models, and technologies, and the last one is the successful completion of the DTs designs and their integration into the Iliad DTO.

Each of these milestones sets the ground for advance in all subsequent WPs. It should also be noted that the engagement rounds results might steer the work of the other WPs to answer the needs of the stakeholders better and ensure the relevance of the outcome of Iliad. A final technical evaluation of the DTs, at the end of the agile development process, will be performed prior to the final assessment by the users in other WP. It is anticipated that there will be lessons learned and technology evolution during the program and the architecture and its implementation will allow for that adaptability. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainability will be evolving in parallel to this project and a cross-fertilisation with the Ocean Decade programmes is expected and will be encouraged. While the initial work of the project is focused on the European seas, the open infrastructure design and construct of DT has broad applicability beyond Europe.

The Iliad Methodology
Photo by Flavio Gasperini

Different platforms, funded by the EU or outside of the EU, already exist and provide valuable data. These data will be used as a starting point for each DT created by Iliad in WP1, and the rationale for selection and incorporation of existing DTs into Iliad. The novelties of Iliad, mirrored in this WP1 are manifold:

  • Iliad system will interact with all existing data platforms, i.e. it will be a Platform of platforms or SoS – the Digital Twin of the Ocean (DTO) will become a Twin of Twins.

  • Iliad is a data-source, model, AI model, and sensor agnostic.

  • Iliad is an open SoS that can expand as DTO emerge and technologies evolve.

  • Iliad will adopt the ocean community best practices and contribute additional ones that are not already available.

  • In Iliad, modelling capacities will significantly improve the spatial and temporal resolution of all digital representations. A data-only approach is not accurate enough for several DT cases.

  • Iliad will address the full scope of data and information – their values, their uncertainties, their provenance.

  • Iliad will consider state-of-the-art software development, verification, validation, deployment methodologies at both the component and system level.

  • Iliad will consider user engagement from the beginning of the co-designing process and involve the users and stakeholders in the whole process. This is a multi-disciplinary approach including natural and social sciences as well as business and policy.

  • Iliad will accommodate new and emerging sensors and data such as eDNA and ocean topography.


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