Language Issues in Generating Simulations from Specifications

R.J. Toal and C.L. Dickson (USA)


Discrete event simulation, code generation, XML,language comparisons.


Simulations, like most data-driven applications, can be executed via hand-crafted interpreters, or via simulation programs generated from specifications. In either case, simulation objects, together with their behavior (processes, events, actions), and the mechanisms for event management (queues, messages, and threads), are written declaratively, perhaps with the aid of a graphical tool. While several systems exist for both interpretation and generation, most are language-specific (require supporting code in a particular programming language) or domain specific (applicable only to a given area such as molecular biology). Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a system to support only a single simulation mechanism, for example either Chandy-Misra or virtual time. The research described here examines ways to remove or mitigate language, domain and mechanism dependencies in simulation generation. We present an XML-based domain-agnostic and execution-mechanism agnostic modelling language and investigate the issues involved in generating simulation programs in multiple programming languages. The purpose of the research is twofold. First, we aim to provide a single modeling language expressive enough to describe simulation mechanisms without relying on programming language specific constructs. The second aim is to show how to exploit programming language features of several languages to effectively model well-known mechanisms.

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