An Education l Bioprocess Simulator (BioVL): Introduction of Disturbances

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Simulators and virtual environments are increasingly used for educational purposes. However, commercial simulators – such as AspenPlus, HYSYS or Pro/II - have several issues in their design and application when deployed in the classroom. One of the key issues for undergraduate students is the sense of loss of reality with regards to the data1. This is due to the disparity between the data obtained in the laboratory, which comes with noise and errors; and the results from the solution of a mathematical model inside a computer-aided tool. The lack of variation and reality in the inputs and outputs of the model decreases the motivation of the students2 and thus, it plays an important role in the user experience for these simulators as educational tools. In the case of bioprocesses, disturbances do not only come from errors and noise, but also from the fact that we are dealing with living cells, and accordingly, there is intrinsic variation. Therefore, undergraduate students must be aware of the presence of variations inside this kind of processes and educational simulators must represent this reality. In this work, disturbances are implemented in the mechanistic models describing bioprocesses inside the educational software platform (BioVL) developed at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering of the Technical University of Denmark. BioVL3 has been designed by integrating: 1) a thoughtful learning design; 2) a motivational approach based on the use of gamification; and, 3) the use of object-oriented modeling together with mechanistic models. The above-mentioned disturbances are based on superposing sinusoidal oscillating perturbations4 inside the models. Through the linear combination of sine and cosine waves, we are able to introduce generic and time dependent disturbances inside the model. The function implemented produces realistic looking noise that is similar to industrial observations, based on an expert opinion. In the BioVL, the presence, amplitude and frequency of the disturbances are decided by the students and the noise can be removed from the results by clicking in the generated plot.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event2020 AIChE Annual Meeting - Virtual event
Duration: 16 Nov 202020 Nov 2020


Conference2020 AIChE Annual Meeting
LocationVirtual event


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