Computer Aided Control System Design
Multidisciplinary System Simulation
Chair: Herman Mann
Control Systems Society IEEE

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This site is maintained by the Virtual Action Group on Multidisciplinary System Simulation. It is intended to monitor the efforts in the integration of methods and software tools for modeling, simulation and analysis partitioned so far according to traditional engineering disciplines. At the same time, this site should provide a forum for discussing, comparing and evaluating different approaches to this problem. A special attention is paid to the on-line and web-based tools for multidisciplinary system simulation as well as to the tools for the related knowledge learning and sharing. For comments and contributions please contact Herman Mann

The virtual action group is part of the IEEE Control Systems Society Technical Committee on Computer Aided Control System Design


It is well recognized that computer-assisted simulation is indispensable for understanding dynamics of existing systems as well as for designing new systems. To exploit the advantages of simulation to their full extent, we need simulation software tools and the underlying methodologies applicable across 
  • different engineering disciplines - as most of the contemporary machines, instruments and other systems are of multidisciplinary nature. They usually utilize phenomena from more than one energy domains (mechanical, electrical, magnetic, fluid, thermal, thermodynamic, etc.) simultaneously
  • different levels of abstraction - e.g., whereas control synthesis requires high-abstraction models concerned only about the input-state-output transformations of the system signals (continuous or discrete in time and/or in level), other - less abstract - models are necessary to characterize energetic interactions between system components for virtual prototyping of the systems
  • different levels of idealization - in some situation a linear lumped-parameter model is fully sufficient for a certain system component whereas a nonlinear model based on the finite-element-method might be necessary for the same component in another situation
  • different ways of model description - sometimes we need a description in a textual of graphical form portraying the internal topological or even geometric structure of a component model, sometimes only a description of the external behavior of the component is satisfactory
  • different modes of simulation and analysis - numerical or symbolic, time- or frequency-domain, steady-state or transient mode; nominal, sensitivity or tolerance mode; in the case of mechanical systems: dynamic, kinematic, static or quasi-static mode, etc.
  • different levels of knowledge - the users' environment of the tools should facilitate simulation as much as possible for inexperienced students and other novices or engineers who resort to simulation only occasionally without decreasing the efficiency of experts utilizing the tools to their utmost extent on the everyday basis
  • geographical distances - to support collaboration of remote teams involved in a common project, and to provide a cost-effective access to powerful number crunching engines for small-size enterprises, for disabled people as well as for distance education students to give them the opportunity to deal with real-world problems
The existing software tools, however, still form rather isolated islands related mostly to the traditional engineering disciplines, like control, mechanical or fluid power engineering, power electronics, etc. Therefore, to provide the multidisciplinary simulation environment vital for contemporary engineering, unified approaches to system simulation, or interfaces integrating heterogeneous software tools, should be developed. This is a huge challenge which must be coped with step by step.


To contribute to the integration effort in the area of multidisciplinary system simulation, this site tries to establish and maintain a discussion forum as well as links giving access to the up-to-date and most important information resources related to the topic. Fulfilling this task is not possible, however, without the active participation of all those of you who are interested in this topic too. Then only this site can become and stay truly relevant and helpful. Looking forward to your comments and contributions,

This page was last updated on Thursday September 01, 2005 .