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Advanced water management: insights from the integration of InfoWorks ICM and Optimizer™

On July 4, 2024, water management professionals gathered for an insightful webinar titled “Optimiser la prise de décisions stratégiques par l’intégration des modèles InfoWorks ICM avec Optimizer™”, organized by Smart Water Magazine and Autodesk Water, and moderated by Olivia Tempest, Editor in Chief of Smart Water Magazine. This event, conducted in French, brought together leading experts to discuss the transformative potential of integrating advanced modeling software with optimization tools.

If you missed the webinar, you can now watch it on demand.

The session began with Olivia Tempest introducing the webinar and setting the stage for an exploration of how InfoWorks ICM and Optimizer by Optimatics can revolutionize the handling of complex hydraulic and hydrological challenges. She emphasized the importance of these tools in enhancing decision-making processes for water and wastewater network managers. She highlighted that the integration of hydraulic models with AI and cloud computing allows for the exploration of numerous scenarios, ultimately leading to more efficient and cost-effective strategies.

InfoWorks ICM is a powerful tool for modeling stormwater and wastewater systems, capable of integrating multiple data sources

Dina Chebl, Autodesk Water Solutions Lead in France, kicked off the technical presentations by discussing the fundamentals of InfoWorks ICM. She described it as a powerful tool for modeling stormwater and wastewater systems, capable of integrating multiple data sources such as rainfall data, 1D models, 2D models, and GIS data into a single platform. Dina explained, "InfoWorks ICM is a unique solution that brings together all the models. The compiled information gives us a complete system where we can model in 1D only, 2D only, or in coupled 1D and 2D, which is one of the strengths of the software, as it allows integrated calculation of underground networks and surface plans." She also emphasized the software's ability to provide dynamic results, visualize in 3D, and facilitate collaborative work environments by allowing simultaneous access to the latest software versions and cloud simulations.

Next, Marwan Haddad, Senior Optimization Engineer at Optimatics, a Suez company, introduced the company’s product, Optimizer. He provided insights into the company’s transition from research on genetic algorithms in the 1990s to becoming a software service model in 2014, and its subsequent acquisition by Suez in 2018. Marwan stated, "Optimatics has a product called Optimizer, which is an overlay for hydraulic models, particularly ICM. What makes Optimizer unique is that it integrates AI models." He explained how the integration of AI with cloud computing enables Optimizer to swiftly evaluate numerous strategies, addressing various objectives such as cost management, flood prevention, and environmental benefits. This combination of AI and cloud computing facilitates the exploration of multiple scenarios and the identification of optimal strategies for managing water systems.

Guillaume Rondot, also Senior Optimization Engineer at Optimatics, delved into the technical capabilities of Optimizer. He detailed how the software automates the consideration of numerous system configurations. Guillaume explained that Optimizer uses genetic algorithms to simulate thousands of scenarios, showcasing the most efficient alternatives for different budget levels, and explained the process: "the challenge of this first optimization was to consider 75,000 different configurations of the system using the software. The software did it automatically, identifying the optimal configurations, represented by red points, for different investment levels". He presented a case study from Atlanta, demonstrating how the integration of InfoWorks ICM and Optimizer helped reduce the risks of flooding and overflows by implementing both traditional and alternative solutions. This case study underscored the practical benefits of these technologies in real-world urban planning, achieving significant cost savings and performance improvements.

In the Atlanta case study, the integration of InfoWorks ICM and Optimizer helped reduce the risks of flooding and overflows by implementing both traditional and alternative solutions

The webinar concluded with an interactive Q&A session, where attendees engaged with the presenters to gain deeper insights into the technologies and their applications. Questions ranged from the compatibility of Optimizer with other models and software to the economic benefits observed in the Atlanta case study. Participants also inquired about the size of models used in InfoWorks ICM and Optimizer, the suitability of Optimizer for 2D models, the commercial model of these solutions, the computation time required, and data confidentiality concerns. The session enhanced the participants’ understanding of the practical applications and advantages of integrating advanced modeling and optimization tools.

The integration of InfoWorks ICM and Optimizer empowers water network managers to make informed, transparent, and defensible decisions, minimizing total expenditures while optimizing hydraulic performance. The webinar highlighted the critical role of these tools in modern water management, equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills to tackle the increasingly complex challenges posed by urbanization and climate change.