Simulation modeling methodology deals with creation and manipulation of models over the lifetime of their use. Motivated by the recognition that the manner in which a simulation model is conceived, developed and used can have a significant impact on the ability of the model to achieve its objectives, modeling methodology has been an active research area since the inception of digital computer simulation.
Over the past forty years the practice of simulation model creation has evolved from coding in general-purpose languages, to model development in special-purpose simulation languages, to model design using higher-level simulation model specification languages and formalisms, to comprehensive theories of simulation modeling and holistic environment support for the modeling task. Thematic in much of the modeling methodological work to date has been the recognition of Dijkstra's principle of the "separation of concerns" which argues for the separateness of specification and implementation (Dijkstra 1972). In many cases, this philosophy has been tempered by the pragmatic observations of Swartout and Balzer (1982), who observe that separation is a worthy goal but not achievable in totality since any specification, S, may be viewed as an implementation of some higher-order specification, S'.
Another argument in favor of the intertwining of specification and implementation is that technological advancements may enable new approaches to accomplishing a task - approaches that were not even conceivable prior to the advent of the technology. Consider, for example, the advent of the assembly line in manufacturing. The potential of the WWW assuch a technology push is cited in a recent article that describes the application of the WWW within the manufacturing process (Erkes et al. 1996), ``Our initial experiments at putting engineering, design and manufacturing services on the Web are so successful that we believe we should rethink the traditional approaches and tools for coordinating large, distributed teams.'' With respect to simulation, a similar revolution seems plausible. Web technology has the potential to significantly alter the ways in which simulation models are developed (collaboratively, by composition), documented (dynamically, using multimedia), analyzed (open, widespread investigation) and executed (using massive distribution).
Is the web such an elixir, demanding that we radically alter our modeling philosophies and approaches? Or is web-based execution merely another implementation detail that can, and should, be abstracted from the model development process?
|Web-Based Simulation Modeling|
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