Digital thread

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Digital Thread is defined as “the use of digital tools and representations for design, evaluation, and life cycle management.”[1]

The term 'Digital Thread' was first used in the Global Horizons 2013 report by the USAF Global Science and Technology Vision Task Force.[1]

The term Digital Thread was further refined in 2018 by Singh and Willcox at MIT in their paper entitled Engineering with a Digital Thread.[2] In this academic paper the term Digital Thread is defined as "a data-driven architecture that links together information generated from across the product lifecycle and is envisioned to be the primary or authoritative data and communication platform for a company’s products at any instance of time."

More narrowly, the digital thread is also used to refer to the lowest level design and specification for a digital representation of a physical item. The digital thread is a critical capability in model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and the foundation for a digital twin.

The term digital thread is also used to describe the traceability of the digital twin back to the requirements, parts and control systems that make up the physical asset. [3]


  1. ^ a b USAF Global Science and Technology Vision, Task Force. "Global Horizons Final Report". Homeland Security Digital Library. Archived from the original on 2021-09-30. Retrieved 2022-06-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Singh, Victor. "Engineering with a Digital Thread". Aerospace Resource Central. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
  3. ^ Gould, Lawrence S. "What Are Digital Twins and Digital Threads?". Automotive Design & Production. Retrieved 2021-07-27.