Our new generalized simulation interface – Censeo

Over the years, there have been numerous instances where we have had the need for an easily configurable generalized simulation interface, for use in front of one of our compiled Dymola/Modelica models. This front end, often referred to as a graphical user interface (or GUI for short), would serve as a way for a user to alter inputs to a particular simulation model without the full overhead of the development interface (Dymola).

The primary reason we’ve needed this front-end is so we could provide an end user (someone without Dymola experience) an application where they can exercise one or more pre-compiled Dymola/Modelica-based simulation models. Each time we encountered one of these situations, we would grumble that we should develop a tool to do this.

You may have read one of my previous posts about license free deployment of Dymola/Modelica simulation models, which explains why so many of our Motorsports customers choose to use Dymola/Modelica to develop their simulations. What wasn’t described in that post, is the next challenge, which is how to deploy the simulation models to a larger group of end users. This deployment task has generally required the involvement of a software engineer… but not anymore! Claytex have built a generalized simulation interface, and we call it Censeo.

Some of our requirements/expectations of this generalized simulation interface were as follows:

  1. Dynamic
  2. Lightweight
  3. Easily configurable
  4. Used to parameterize/run the simulation(s)
  5. Used to evaluate the results of the simulation(s)

Dynamic

The interface needs to be dynamic. By dynamic, we mean that the parameters, data types, and GUI layout are able to be configured post – GUI compilation and controlled via an input file. How does this work in practice? The end-user installs Censeo on their PC, and launches it just like they would any other application. Once launched, Censeo will ask the user to select a *.mod file. This mod file contains the simulation models, default parameters, parameter types, any embedded images, parameter GUI layout information, tasks, workflows, and plot configurations. The user can thus use Censeo to run a building thermal simulation with one myBuildingSim.mod file, and then turn around and use it with myDragRacingSim.mod file to run a drag racing simulation.

Lightweight

The interface needs to be lightweight. By lightweight, we mean a small footprint on the hard drive, simple to set up, and efficient to use. We believe we have achieved all of these items.

Easily configurable

One big part of creating a useful front end for a simulation, is having the ability to lay out the inputs in a way that makes sense to the end user. Allowing the simulation developer to lay out the GUI without the help of a software engineer was a very important feature of Censeo. The interface must allow the developer to be able to quickly build out a custom interface to help their end user parameterize the simulation model(s). Here is an example of the rear suspension layout we used for a Dirt Late Model simulation:

Used to parameterize/run the simulation(s)

The first priority from a functionality perspective, is to allow end users to adjust the input parameters for a particular simulation. The above image is an example of how the parameterization section could look. Once the user has set the input parameters to what they would like to simulate, they simply click on the Simulate tab, select the simulation(s) that they want to run, provide the simulation name, and click ‘Start’. This launches the simulation(s) and prints information about the progress of each simulation:

Once the simulation has completed, the user is automatically transferred over to the Analysis tab.

Used to evaluate the results of the simulation(s)

The Analysis tab is used to evaluate the simulation results.

We even implemented a custom kinematics view to help this particular customer do additional analysis:

Closing

While this post doesn’t hit on every bell and whistle of Censeo, we hope it provides you with a decent overview of our new generalized simulation interface. We’re confident that it will continue to evolve over time as we add more useful features that are requested by our customers, but at this point, it’s already a valuable tool which may be able to help you deploy some of your models to a wider user-base.

If you’re interested in learning more about this product or any of our other products, please reach out to sales@claytex.com

If you have any technical questions about this topic or another, please reach out to support@claytex.com and we will get back to you promptly!

Nate Horn – Vice President

Please get in touch if you have any questions or have a topic in mind that you would like us to write about. You can submit your questions / topics via: Tech Blog Questions / Topic Suggestion.

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