The University of Sheffield invites applications from outstanding candidates for this PhD scholarship opportunity.
More than half of the world’s population now live in cities, allied with predictions of continued growth (the urban population rising to almost 5 billion people by the year 2030) are concerns about sustainability. The equivalent landmass resource areas required to sustain cities have become orders of magnitude greater than the cities themselves (Kennedy et al., 2007). Presently, cities have been identified to be responsible for nearly 76% of global total energy consumption (Grubler et al., 2012) corresponding to an estimated 60% of today’s total global fossil fuel consumption. As such, a systemic approach to transport, communications and energy is needed in urban areas, in order to improve the performance of cities and minimise the negative effects of climate change and other threats (Shen et al., 2016).
The Urban Flows Observatory has capital funding to develop the underlying architecture for the first iteration of a digital twin for Sheffield. This instrument will gather diverse datasets relating to physical processes in the city and integrate them with geo-tagged socio-economic data to provide insight into the relationships between the city and its citizens. This provides an opportunity for the city stakeholders to exploit this investment for the broader benefit of the city.
Objectives Extending and synthesising recent scientific developments in network science which shed light on infrastructure systems design (Wang et al., 2012) presents an opportunity to develop next-generation systems engineering tools and methods, and thus to increase the productivity of the planning and development process and the quality and resilience of outcomes for cities.
Innovative new research is needed to automate the extraction of systems relationships from digital data, to model and simulate systems across scales and to creatively develop new ways to display results using industry tools, e.g. GIS and BIM.
The focus will be on large scale systems and networks. To develop a platform that supports model integration across scales to inform decisions about cyber-physical infrastructure systems; to abstract elements and relationships from existing data-sets to use these as an input into systems analyses; and to connect engineering models developed in a range of disciplinary formalisms to represent the cyber and physical systems.
The novelty of the work is in new techniques for modelling and analysis across scales; for automating the abstraction of system elements and relationships from models; and for visualising the results of model integration. This platform will then be used to  model and characterise systemic nature of city infrastructure systems and  explore how characteristics relate to objectives of performance and resilience.
REFERENCES Grubler A, Bai X, Buettner T, Dhakal S, Fisk D, Ichinose T, Keirstead J, Sammer G, Satterhwaite D, Schulz N, et al., 2012. Urban Energy Systems. Cambridge University Press, Chapter 18. Pp. 1307-100.
Kennedy CA, Cuddihy J, Engel Yan J. The changing metabolism of cities. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 2007;11:43-59
Shen, A.W, Guo, J.I & Wang, Z.J. (2016). Analysis of Cascading Failures of Interdependent Networks under Random Attacks. International Conference on Wireless Communication and Network Engineering.
Wang, S, Hong, L & Chen, X. (2012). Vulnerability analysis of interdependent infrastructure systems: A methodological framework. Physica A. 391, 3323-3335.
REQUIREMENTS Candidates are expected to at least hold the equivalent of a first class or upper second class degree in relevant numerate discipline, such as computer sciences, mathematics or engineering.
Students receive fees and stipend (at the standard RCUK rate).