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2016-12-22

Smarter products with rigorous simulation

Products such as cars and telephones are increasingly powered by built-in computers. The more accurate the simulation is during product development, the better the design will be, thereby resulting in a more useful product. New research from Halmstad University highlights the advantages of a new process known as rigorous simulation.

Robot

In his doctoral thesis, Adam Duracz, a researcher in computer science at Halmstad University, investigates rigorous simulation, which makes simulations more reliable. This increases the usefulness of the simulation, potentially saving both time and money.

– The possibility of simulating large numbers of scenarios can simplify the work of product developers. It reduces their need to guess what specific situations must be simulated to ensure that a design will function as intended, he says.

Rigorous simulation is an alternative way of simulating models of cyber-physical systems governed by built-in computers, known as “smart products” such as robots and self-driving cars.

– This type of simulation is more reliable compared to traditional simulation methods, in which small changes to the simulator’s settings can lead to erroneous results and conclusions.

Anti-collision system

Rigorous simulation also makes it possible to simulate more – in fact an infinite number of – scenarios at the same time.

– For example, I have used it on a model for an anti-collision system for vehicles, in which the simulator simultaneously analyses a range of different speeds and positions for the vehicles involved.

Adam Duracz points out that the method is already being evaluated in practical contexts.

– In a study we conducted in collaboration with partners including Volvo, we managed to simulate several scenarios, he says.

Development of research

Together with his research colleagues, Adam Duracz has used the new method to simulate interesting theoretical models, of the kind that traditional methods cannot handle – which is important for the development of research in the field and to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the method. One drawback is that, in many cases, rigorous simulation produces ‘conservative’ results.

– It can be compared to a very cautious person, who would much rather reply that they do not know, rather than risk giving a wrong answer. Despite this caution, a rigorous simulator can produce very precise results for many examples of stable systems.

Text: KRISTINA RÖRSTRÖM
Foto: JOACHIM BRINK, ADAM DURACZ

Rigorous simulator in Acumen

Adam Duracz wants to make it easy for others to build on to his research. He has therefore integrated a rigorous simulator in the Acumen tool, which is known as a hybrid modelling language and was developed by Halmstad University in collaboration with Rice University in the US. Hybrid systems are usually used to create models of physical systems with built-in computers. Acumen is free software whose source code is available for others to use, modify and improve. More about Acumenexternal link

Updated 2016-12-22