DigITER is a "knowledge management" program that addresses the past, the present and the future of ITER. "The early data exists in different forms, from a drawing scribbled on the back an envelope three decades ago to the thousand-page ITER Final Design Report of 2001," explains Alain Bécoulet, Head of the Engineering Domain and leader of the program. "Then, as information technologies evolved, all kinds of different databases were introduced, which, unfortunately, do not necessarily 'talk' to each other. All of this is very much 20th century and, as we all know, we entered the 21st century 22 years ago..."
From the capture and structured storage of old data to the creation of ''digital twins'' for any ITER environment, the DigITER program is an in-depth digital transition that will anchor the project in the 21st century. ''It represents a colossal amount of work but the tools now exist to make it possible,'' says Alain Bécoulet, Head of the Engineering Domain and leader of the program.
Suppose, for instance, that at one point an ion cyclotron resonance heating antenna needs to be fixed or replaced. According to Bécoulet, the process would typically trigger a whole series of meetings with "20 to 30 people seated around a table." When digital twins are implemented, "the officer responsible for maintenance will be able to virtually investigate all possible scenarios, and set limits for cost and delay. It will be like a video game, experimenting scenarios and strategies until settling on the most efficient."
The ITER's Virtual Reality Room gives access to 3D renderings of components and systems which, outside of a few exceptions, are ''as-designed'' and not ''as-built.'' Using today's technologies it is becoming quite simple to scan a complete environment and virtually recreate it as it is in the real world. (In this image, Benoît Manfreo of the Tokamak Integration team, and Chiara Di Paolo, ITER Project Associate in the Tritium Breeding Blanket Section, are exploring the digital mock-up of a port cell inside the Tokamak Building to assess practicability and accessibility for operators working in ventilated suits.