Non-standard semantics of hybrid systems modelers

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Hybrid system modelers have become a corner stone of complex embedded system development. Embedded systems include not only control components and software, but also physical devices. In this area, Simulink is a de facto standard design framework, and Modelica a new player. However, such tools raise several issues related to the lack of reproducibility of simulations (sensitivity to simulation parameters and to the choice of a simulation engine). In this paper we propose using techniques from non-standard analysis to define a semantic domain for hybrid systems. Non-standard analysis is an extension of classical analysis in which infinitesimal (the ε and η in the celebrated generic sentence ∀ε∃η⋯ of college maths) can be manipulated as first class citizens. This approach allows us to define both a denotational semantics, a constructive semantics, and a Kahn Process Network semantics for hybrid systems, thus establishing simulation engines on a sound but flexible mathematical foundation. These semantics offer a clear distinction between the concerns of the numerical analyst (solving differential equations) and those of the computer scientist (generating execution schemes). We also discuss a number of practical and fundamental issues in hybrid system modelers that give rise to non-reproducibility of results, non-determinism, and undesirable side effects. Of particular importance are cascaded mode changes (also called "zero-crossings" in the context of hybrid systems modelers). © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Benveniste, A., Bourke, T., Caillaud, B., & Pouzet, M. (2012). Non-standard semantics of hybrid systems modelers. Journal of Computer and System Sciences, 78(3), 877–910.

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