Web-Based Simulation Modeling

The explosion of computer networks have created an environment for computer modeling in general, and simulation modeling in particular, that is revolutionary. In order to properly exploit these developments the nature of modeling must change.

Simulation models have been traditionally monolithic in design. The advent of Object-Oriented Programming has resulted in more elegantly designed monoliths. Simulation models for both industrial and military applications have been mostly designed for models running on a single machine. For such models the network offers little. Using the full power of the network offers potentially substantial benefits to modeling and simulation, but only if models are designed differently.

Use of up-to-date data by dynamically interacting with databases across the network. This speeds up the modeling and decision-making cycle by an order of magnitude. The integration of computer models running with systems has great potential for military analysis and training.

What Web-Based Simulation Models Must Do:

The Java programming language, together with the related cluster of Java Technologies, have substantially extended the capabilities of program-level tasks. Java classes can open sockets across a network, perform database queries, and encrypt data streams for secure transmission. New classes may be dynamically incorporated as the program is running, thus enabling dynamic extensibility. Objects on one computer may be serialized and sent to another, where thay are immediately incorporated into that computer's model. Objects on another computer may be invoked through Remote Method Invocation.

The capabilities of programming languages have outstripped our knowledge of how best to write programs exploiting these capabilities. Software design principles for procedural and even object-oriented programs are well-known. It is not yet known how software should be designed using these tools. It is also not clear how best to exploit the tremendous possibilities offered by the Network.


Arnold Buss is an Adjunct Professor of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School. He received a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, and MS in Systems and Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University. His research interests include simulation modeling and object-oriented software design. He is a member of INFORMS, MORS, and POMS. (Address: Operations Research Department, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, E-mail: bussa@or.nps.navy.mil)

Distributed Simulation Modeling Using the Web as an Infrastructure

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