Cyber-Physical Infrastructure

What is a study tour and who organizes it?

Shift is the 2018 installment of the study tours organized by study association Inter-Actief of the University of Twente. Study tours are organized every two years, with previous destinations including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States, Brazil, India and China. During a study tour, the participants visit companies, universities and undertake cultural trips in the destination countries. In preparation of the study tour, the participants take courses and perform research within the scope of Shift’s theme; cyber-physical infrastructure. Shift will leave for Japan and South Korea in the fall of 2018.

Cyber-Physical Infrastructure

Infrastructure encompasses all the fundamental facilities serving a country. Traditional physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways and waterways have always been necessities for transportation. In the past decades, digital infrastructures such as the electrical grid, mobile telecommunication networks and the internet have emerged, playing a similarly essential role. These physical and digital infrastructures are not entirely physical or entirely digital, however. Moreover, physical infrastructures are becoming increasingly digital, smart and adaptable, while digital infrastructure cannot exist without a physical infrastructure to support it. Examples of these cyber-physical infrastructures include smart railways, such as Japan’s Shinkansen, the bullet train network, or the infrastructure necessary for self-driving vehicles. Furthermore, one can think of 5G mobile networking, natural disaster monitoring networks and the digitalisation of international sea freight transport.

Study Tour Shift will study the different aspects of these smart cyber-physical infrastructures in the theme course. Possible research themes include their security, the embedded systems used in cyber-physical infrastructure and the utilisation of the overwhelming amount of data gathered in these infrastructures. More information can be found on our tracks page. On location, the study tour will visit universities that do research about cyber-physical infrastructure, as well as companies that are active in the field.

South Korea

As one of the four Asian tigers, South Korea is a wealthy high-tech industrialised developed country with an economy that grew at an annual average of 10% for over 30 years. Today, it is the seventh largest advanced economy driven by a highly educated and skilled workforce.

Internationally known for companies like Samsung and LG, South Korea’s economy is the global leader of consumer electronics, mobile broadband and smartphones. The country’s innovative culture ensures their presence in the innovation of their infrastructure, both physical and digital.


Japan is the third largest national economy in the world. They have a large industrial sector, famous for its motor vehicles and electronics. They rank second among the most innovative countries in the world and are a world leader in fundamental scientific research.

As a highly technological and innovative country, Japan is at the forefront the developments regarding Shift’s theme, Cyber-Physical Infrastructure. While Japan’s railway network might be the most famous due to the bullet trains, interesting cyber-physical infrastructure challenges can also be found in their 178 airports, five ‘super container’ ports and their automotive industry, which was the biggest in the world until China overtook Japan only recently.

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