Sim­u­la­tion and the need for sim­u­la­tion tools

OpenSource For You - - INSIGHT -

The clas­si­cal def­i­ni­tion of sim­u­la­tion is “the imi­ta­tion of the op­er­a­tion of a real-world process or sys­tem over time.” This def­i­ni­tion gives a gen­eral de­scrip­tion of sim­u­la­tion and it ap­plies even to phys­i­cal pro­cesses. For ex­am­ple, au­to­mo­bile sim­u­la­tors are used to train driv­ers. In com­puter sim­u­la­tion, the ba­sic idea is to use a sim­pli­fied model to study the be­hav­iour of a real world sys­tem, which might oth­er­wise not be fea­si­ble to model. For ex­am­ple, weather fore­cast­ing of­ten in­volves sim­pli­fied sim­u­la­tion mod­els. Some of the tools used for com­puter based sim­u­la­tion are used in ar­eas like com­puter net­work­ing, cloud com­put­ing, par­al­lel com­put­ing, etc. The most im­por­tant sim­u­la­tors are those used for sim­u­lat­ing com­puter net­works, and the ques­tion that should be an­swered is re­gard­ing the need for net­work sim­u­la­tion. Even though hard­ware has be­come cheaper, it is still a luxury for re­searchers in coun­tries like ours where get­ting funds for re­search is a her­culean task. So in­stead of re­ly­ing on hard­ware in the ini­tial stages of re­search we can use sim­u­la­tion tools for data, and if the re­sults are promis­ing, we can use the ac­tual hard­ware based im­ple­men­ta­tion for verification.

Com­puter sim­u­la­tors can be clas­si­fied into con­tin­u­ous sim­u­la­tors and dis­crete event sim­u­la­tors. Con­tin­u­ous sim­u­la­tors con­tin­u­ously track the sys­tems’ re­sponse based on a set of pre­de­fined con­di­tions. Most of the time, con­tin­u­ous sim­u­la­tors work on a math­e­mat­i­cal model de­vel­oped by us­ing dif­fer­en­tial equa­tions. Com­mer­cial flight sim­u­la­tors use a con­tin­u­ous sim­u­la­tion model. Dis­crete event sim­u­la­tors model the work­ing of a sys­tem as a dis­crete se­quence of events in time. So the over­all work­ing of an event-driven sys­tem is based on an event/re­sponse model. A dis­crete event sim­u­la­tor changes its in­ter­nal state by re­spond­ing to some event hap­pen­ing in the sim­u­la­tion uni­verse. One com­mon as­sump­tion made by ev­ery dis­crete event sim­u­la­tor is that noth­ing hap­pens be­tween two events. Pseudo-ran­dom

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