Digital Library

of the European Council for Modelling and Simulation



Development of Simulation Software - from Simple ODE Modelling

to Structural Dynamic Systems


Felix Breitenecker

Published in:


ECMS 2008 Proceedings

Edited by: Loucas S. Louca, Yiorgos Chrysanthou, Zuzana Oplatkova, Khalid Al-Begain


ISBN: 978-0-9553018-6-5

Doi: 10.7148/2008


22nd European Conference on Modelling and Simulation,

Nicosia, June 3-6, 2008


Citation format:

Breitenecker, F. (2008). Development of Simulation Software - from Simple ODE Modelling to Structural Dynamic Systems. 22nd ECMS Proceedings edited by: Loucas S. Louca, Yiorgos Chrysanthou, Zuzana Oplatková, Khalid Al-Begain (pp. 5-22). European Council for Modeling and Simulation. doi:10.7148/2008-0005-0022



This contribution presents development and trends of simulation software, from the simple structures for ‘static’ explicit ODE models to modelling of structural dynamic systems with DAEs. Simulation emerged in the 1960’ in order to be able to analyse nonlinear dynamic system and to synthesize nonlinear control systems. Since that time simulation as problem solving tool has been developed towards the third pillar of science (be- neath theory and experiment), and simultaneously simu- lation software has been developed further on.

The paper first follows roots in the CSSL standard for simulation languages, from simple ODE modelling structures to discrete elements in ODE modelling, using the classical state space approach. Next, the extensions from explicit state space description to implicit model descriptions and their consequences for numerical algo- rithms and for structure of simulators are discussed, like DAE solvers and implicit model translation. Besides DAE modelling, state event description and state event handling has become a key feature for simulators – sketched by a state event classification and options for implementation.

In the following, the last major steps of the development are presented: a-causal physical modelling, the new Modelica standard for ODE and DAE modelling, state chart and structural dynamic systems. Physical model- ling and Modelica is outlined by examples, and for structural dynamic systems a new approach by means of internal and external events is presented – together com- fortable state chart descriptions based on UML-RT.

The last section reviews state-of-the-art simulators for availability of extended and structural features neces- sary for these last developments: DAE modelling, a- causal physical modelling, state events, Modelica mod- elling, state chart modelling, structural decomposition for structural dynamic systems, and related features. At the end, a table summarises and compares the availabil- ity of structural approaches and features.

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