SiE Basic Research Actions



During the "focusing" phase of SiE's operation, key subjects for further research were identified within the broad area of modelling and simulation. In particular, five Action Clusters were defined. These clusters correspond to needs of the users of Information Technology for Modelling and Simulation.

The Working Group has started the second phase. During this phase, actual Basic Research is encouraged in the areas identified during the first phase. In the sequel, we will describe the scientific content of these activities.

Within the five Action Clusters, specific Subjects were identified. These subjects and the corresponding Actions reflect both end user needs and the availability of expertise in Europe. Names (e-mail addresses) of Action Leaders are given in braces next to each Action. Where appropriate, a link to the Action Home Page is given.

1. Multi Paradigm Modelling ( Hans Vangheluwe)

Given the growing complexity of systems and their models, building and sharing heterogeneous (using multiple formalisms) models is becoming increasingly important.

Action 1.1: Glossaries, Definitions, (Jacques Lefevre)

Researchers from different backgrounds, in different application areas use different terminology to describe modelling and simulation concepts. This Action classifies and discusses those concepts and their terminology. This is particularly important in the area of multi-paradigm modelling.

Action 1.2: Semantics ( Hans Vangheluwe)

As complex multi-formalism models are developed and shared, the problem of expressing the "meaning" of these models becomes apparent. This Action investigates and explains the problem and suggests solutions which will be of use in the standardisation of modelling languages.

Action 1.3: Model Exchange (Francis Lorenz)

From a practical point of view, a Neutral Exchange Format for models has to be agreed on to allow meaningful model exchange. Two levels can be identified: the generic model level where the model type (ODE, PDE, Discrete Event, ... ) is not yet relevant, and the formalism specific level where the model type needs to be known. In the continuous realm, starting points are NMF, PROFORMA, ALLAN, ULM, Dymola, VHDL-A. In the discrete realm, the starting point is DEVS. The ultimate aim is multi-paradigm modelling. The continuous and discrete starting points are boundary conditions. Links with STEP/EXPRESS (product modelling) will be investigated.

Action 1.4: Symbolic Manipulation (Hilding Elmqvist)

To enable the developments in standardised, non causal, continuous model representations as well as to increase continuous simulator performance, the symbolic manipulation of models needs to be investigated. In particular, the needs, techniques, as well as a standard architecture should be discussed. As symbolic manipulation techniques are closely related to the model representation, this Action also investigates continuous model representations.

2. Simulators and Low Level Model Representation (Per Sahlin)

Whereas the aim of Modelling is meaningful re use of knowledge, the aim of Simulation is accurate and performant ``running of these models. Both aims are often conflicting, which introduces the need for specific simulator level model representation. At this level (of compiled models) also, re use of models is desirable.

Action 2.1: Simulator Standardisation Guidelines (Brian Ricketts)

In general a simulator consists of a model representation and a solver which will produce the state trajectory for this model. If standard API s (Application Programmer s Interfaces) are introduced for solvers and models, exchange of both at link level becomes possible. Standardisation of a solver model architecture will be investigated. This entails the discussion of the use of multiple models and multiple solvers. Also, the amount of symbolic information ``compiled into models needs to be determined. This Action will investigate general Standardisation issues. These will be used in the following Actions.

Action 2.2: Neutral Model Solver protocol for continuous systems (Martin Otter)

Will be based on the current specification of DSblock. The extension of DSblock towards incorporation of more symbolic information will be investigated.

Action 2.3: Neutral Model Solver protocol for discrete systems ( Herbert Praehofer)

Will be based on the current specification of DEVS. The extension to existing discrete event simulation solutions will be investigated.

3. Simulator Interoperability ( Anders Christensen)

Whereas the previous Action Cluster deals with the local development of simulators as constructed from solvers and low level model representations, this Action Cluster investigates the interoperability of whole simulators.

Action 3.1: Interacting Distributed Simulators ( Anders Christensen)

Based on the common behaviour of all simulators (from some model description, generate a state trajectory), the design of a generic architecture for interacting simulators can be attempted. State of the Art technology such as CORBA needs to be investigated.

Action 3.2: Synthetic Engineering, Distributed Interactive Simulation (Richard Zobel)

The DIS community is extremely active and this action should provide a gateway between SiE and the DIS community. In this action, the civilian impact of DIS will be investigated. In particular, Synthetic Engineering of a Virtual Enterprise is a target for the application of Distributed (Interactive) Simulation.

4. Industrial Demonstrator Deployment (Kaj Juslin)

Modelling and Simulation are powerful tools to analyse, design and control complex systems. The use of different modelling paradigms as well as the proliferation of simulators will increase the quality of products while reducing their cost. To effectively deploy modelling and simulation techniques to support the full life cycle of tools and products, users need more insight in the ``process of modelling and simulation.

Action 4.1: Industrial Deployment Handbook ( Brian Hollocks)

Incorporating industrial input, this action will provide guidelines for successful deployment of modelling and simulation methods and technology.

Action 4.2: Multi Paradigm Demonstrator (Jacques Lefevre)

It is claimed that complex problems can only meaningfully and efficiently be solved using a combination of models/techniques from different paradigms. This Action will develop a demonstrator which shows the feasibility of a multi paradigm approach. In particular, neural net, genetic algorithm, fuzzy, continuous and discrete models/techniques will be mixed.

5. End User Involvement, User Simulator Interfaces (Emmanuel Vergison)

The importance of appropriate user simulator interaction is paramount. In this context, human factors issues were proven essential in addition to purely technical considerations.

Action 5.1: (Emmanuel Vergison)

This action cluster will provide a link with the EC Human Comfort and Security activities.

A. Additional Actions

The Working Group can only attain its goals no matter how good its research and conclusions may be if there is a pervasive dissemination of information about previous, current and future activities of SiE and about modelling and simulation in general.

Action A.1: WWW server

The WWW server will contain general information about SiE as well as present 3 different views of modelling and simulation to the world (to assure broad impact): The WWW server tries to help coordinate research in and use of modelling and simulation by structuring and distributing knowledge. It must support interaction through feedback from its clients.
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Simulation in Europe --- August 28, 1996