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NIST IR 8356 (Initial Public Draft)

Considerations for Digital Twin Technology and Emerging Standards

Date Published: April 16, 2021
Comments Due: June 16, 2021 (public comment period is CLOSED)
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Planning Note (10/17/2023):

Work on this report has resumed. Please direct inquiries to


Jeffrey Voas (NIST), Peter Mell (NIST), Vartan Piroumian


Digital twin technology is an emerging area of research and standardization. Because of this, there may be a lack of clarity as to what is new with digital twins and what promise this technology holds. This report provides a detailed definition of digital twins, the motivation and vision for their use, common low-level operations, usage scenarios, and example use cases. Focusing on technical considerations with the cybersecurity and trust of digital twins, this report analyzes novel cybersecurity challenges arising from the use of digital twin architectures and examines the traditional cybersecurity challenges that apply. Finally, this draft report evaluates trust issues—including the impact a lack of trust and standards can have on digital twin functionality and quality—and maps those evaluations to other NIST cybersecurity guidance.

NOTE: A call for patent claims is included on page iii of this draft. For additional information, see the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) Patent Policy--Inclusion of Patents in ITL Publications.



computer cybersecurity; control; digital twins; instrumentation; real-time command; real-time monitoring; simulation; standards; testing; trust; use case scenarios
Control Families

None selected


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Supplemental Material:
None available

Document History:
04/16/21: IR 8356 (Draft)


Security and Privacy

access control, assurance, maintenance, risk assessment


personal computers, sensors


Internet of Things