The workshop, held online on June 26 and 27, was organised in the context of the recently signed EU-US Administrative Arrangement (AA) on AI. The workshop provided a platform for discussion and knowledge sharing among policymakers, scientists, and researchers, emphasizing the transformative potential of digital twins as a policy tool to harness the power of AI for evidence-based decision-making. Linking closely with the EU Destination Earth initiative and similar efforts in the US, the workshop focused on identifying concrete collaboration objectives and next steps on a number of specific topics of mutual interest. The workshop marked an important milestone in EU-US cooperation in cutting-edge technologies, such as AI and Digital Twins of the Earth System for climate change adaptation.
In their opening remarks, Thomas Skordas, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology (CNECT), and Dr. Michael Morgan, the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, stressed the importance of cooperation on initiatives addressing the impacts of climate change. They both highlighted the shared commitment to working together to advance sustainable and innovative solutions through AI and Digital Twins for Earth systems.
Throughout the workshop, over 60 participants discussed issues on four pre-identified topics of mutual interest:
- Data access, usage, and exchange
- Compute resources for AI /Digital Twins
- Collaboration on AI / Digital Twins frameworks and software tools
- Ensuring impact for the public good
Participants also exchanged views on the technical, legal, and ethical challenges that the development of digital twins for Earth Science presents, as well as the importance of user engagement through co-design and collaboration.
The workshop participants recognized the pressing need for collaboration in the initiatives on Digital Twins for Earth System. The workshop proposed the creation of a community of practice focused on critical information sharing in what is a highly dynamic environment. Participants recognized the need for comprehensive collaboration on common practices concerning data exchange and access, model developments, and communication of predictions. To address the crucial topics of impact, creation for society, uncertainty, and risk communication, a broader workshop will be organized to discuss common strategies and explore common use cases to facilitate this.
The identified next steps reflect the collaborative efforts between EU and US partners, leveraging the EU-US administrative agreement on AI and the Technology and Trade Council (TTC) discussions. They serve as an inspiring example for global cooperation in addressing one of the greatest challenges of our time.