Model openness and customisation in Dymola

When people ask me “What are the advantages of using Dymola for physical modelling over your more traditional simulation environments”, amongst other things such as automated code optimisation, I respond “It is the openness of models and the ability this gives to be able to familiarise ourselves with the code and customise it at our will.”

The general philosophy of the open source modelling language Modelica lends itself to collaborations and library/model reuse between community developers.

Over the years, Claytex has facilitated the extensive uptake of Dymola within the motorsports world, particularly in Formula 1, NASCAR and IndyCar. This uptake would not have been possible with “black box” modelling and the customers/users having to rely on the library developers to implement new functionality, new model behaviours and model architectures. The Modelica Standard Library which comes with every Dymola installation, is fully “open” to allow you to view the code. Even the commercial application libraries in Dymola follow the same openness philosophy. Motorsport requires rapid development… the flexibility of this approach makes that possible.

This flexibility though, does not only favour the Motorsports industry but all other industries where a degree of customisation and independence is required for work to be carried out in an efficient and clear way.

We cannot afford to be making assumptions on how models have been mathematically described when designing systems using simulation whilst trying to reduce physical prototypes and development times. We might also be interested in optimising the detail for a particular application and this would not be possible with a limited detail range black box model library.

So when making simulation tool choices, ask yourself; “How much freedom does this tool allow me for model customisation and how “transparent” are the models?

Although most models are generally open, Dymola also includes a vast array of model encryption functionalities where these are required, for example to protect your IP (Intellectual Property).

Figure 1: Example view of a model’s code with the ability to extend and duplicate it for model re-use and customisation respectively.

Written by: Alessandro Picarelli – Engineering Director

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