Paul Valckenaers

Paul Valckenaers

Senior researcher at UCLL and KU Leuven

Paul Valckenaers is a senior researcher at UCLL and KU Leuven, Belgium. He is the author of “Design for the Unexpected” (Elsevier) revealing how to build IT systems that are knowledgeable about a world-of-interest without imposing constraints in the application domain. He became addicted to the BEAM after discovering how small the semantic gap between reality and software becomes when you switch to Erlang/OTP and Elixir.

Paul has applied his insights to manufacturing, supply networks, logistics, fleet robotics, agriculture, smart traffic, smart grids and healthcare. His designs provide a collective-predicting situation awareness for real-world activities executing on resources. They disclose what is possible. Undesirable courses-of-action are counter-acted by predicting their (lack of) performance.

Paul currently designs and implements embodied digital twins in STORY, a Horizon 2020 project on smart energy storage. These twins are digital co-workers that deliver in-depth interoperability by allowing to discover, observe and coordinate what is happening in energy installations.

Past Activities

Paul Valckenaers
Code BEAM STO 2019
17 May 2019
12.15 - 12.40

BEAM for smart energy

This talk presents a case study applying Erlang in the energy domain. Within STORY - a Horizon 2020 project - industrial automation and Erlang have been targeting energy storage installations. In industrial automation, an IT platform disruption is long overdue, and the pressure is rising continuously. When the disruption happens, Erlang, Elixir, the OTP, BEAM and ERTS represent unrivalled value. In STORY, embedded and networked digital twins - implemented in Erlang - demonstrate this.


1) Present the application of Erlang technology in the energy domain specifically and industrial automation in general.

2) Illustrate how Erlang allows for highly innovative solutions, e.g. addressing interoperability in its fundamental aspects, that cannot be mastered by industrial automation's IT.

3) Demonstrate how Erlang brings (artificial) intelligence that is embodied (digital twin of a real-world counterpart), embedded in a network (of digital twins) and thus situated (able to use a community of twins to deliver services). In this way, Erlang brings intelligence in a manner that conventional A.I. has been unable (cf. Karina Vold ; 1st HUMAINT workshop, Barcelona, 2018), to be discussed by means of a simple example (i.e. easy to understand).

4) Discuss the overdue platform disruption in industrial automation and the desirability to have Erlang/Elixir/... take up a central role in the next generation IT platforms.


1) Erlang and Elixir community members looking for novel application domains and/or novel ideas to be translated into their own domain.

2) Strategic decision makers looking to have Erlang/Elixir conquer a central role in future IT platform disruptions.

3) Creative minds aiming for computer-based intelligence that is closely interwoven with reality, supporting GDPR by design and able to explain what is happening by being focused on a real-world counterpart.