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Alexander Steiniger and Adelinde M Uhrmacher (2015 (to appear))

Intensional Couplings in Variable Structure Models: An Exploration Based on Multi-Level-DEVS

ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation.

In modular, hierarchical modeling, couplings or connections describe and constrain the communication and thus interaction between model components. Defining couplings between a large set of components in an extensional manner—listing all existing couplings individually—proves often to be rather tedious. Moreover, if models change their structure, i.e., composition and interaction patterns, and, in some cases, even their interfaces during simulation, questions about the consistency of the couplings arise. For instance, an extensionally defined coupling may refer to a model no longer existent. Instead, an intensional coupling definition, based on attributes of the components to couple and dynamically translated into concrete couplings during simulation, promises to alleviate the above problems. We propose a concept that combines a flexible, yet expressive definition of couplings that rests on component interfaces, which announce attributes of interest. However, intensional couplings come at a price, as they need to be translated during simulation; and in variable structure models this translation has to happen frequently. We illuminate our concept based on a revision of the modeling formalism ML-DEVS (Multi-Level Discrete Event System Specification). Developed for multi-level modeling and simulation, ML-DEVS exhibits also another alternative to intensional couplings, i.e., sharing parts of model states for up- and downward causation. The intricate interplay between these different types of couplings is revealed in the abstract simulator of ML-DEVS.

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