Section: Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry

Glose: Globalisation for Systems Engineering

Participants : Benoît Caillaud, Benoît Vernay.

Glose is a bilateral collaboration between Inria and Safran Tech., the corporate research entity of Safran Group. It started late 2017 for a duration of 44 months. Three Inria teams are involved in this collaboration: Diverse (Inria Rennes), Hycomes and Kairos (Inria Sophia-Antipolis). The scope of the collaboration is systems engineering and co-simulation.

The simulation of system-level models requires synchronizing, at simulation-time, physical models with software models. These models are developed and maintained by different stakeholders: physics engineers, control engineers and software engineers. Models designed by physics engineers are either detailed 3D finite-elements models, with partial differential equations (PDEs), or finite-dimension 0D models (obtained by model reduction techniques, or by empirical knowledge) expressed in modeling languages such as Simulink (with ordinary differential equations, or ODEs), Modelica (with differential algebraic equations, or DAEs), or directly as a C code embedding both the differential equations and its discretization scheme. Coupling together heterogeneous models and programs, so that they can be co-simulated, is not only a technological challenge, but more importantly raises several deep and difficult questions: Can we trust simulations? What about their reproducibility? Will it be possible to simulate large systems with hundreds to thousands of component models?

Co-simulation requires that models are provided with interfaces, specifying static and dynamic properties about the model and its expected environments. Interfaces are required to define how each model may synchronize and communicate, and how the model should be used. For instance, an interface should define (i) which variables are inputs, which are outputs, (ii) their data types, physical units, and sampling periods, but also (iii) the environmental assumptions under which the model is valid, and (iv) the causal dependencies between input and output variables and for continuous-time models, (v) the stiffness of the model, often expressed as a time-varying Jacobian matrix.

Formally, an interface is an abstraction of a model's behavior. A typical example of interface formalism for 0D continuous-time models is the FMI standard. Co-simulation also requires that a model of the system architecture is provided. This architectural model specifies how components are interconnected, how they communicate and how computations are scheduled. This is not limited to the topology of the architecture, and should also specify how components interact. For instance, variables in continuous-time models may have different data-types and physical units. Conversion may be required when continuous-time models are plugged together. Another fine example is the coupling of a 3D finite-element model to a 0D model: effort and flow fields computed in the 3D model must be averaged in a scalar value, before it can be sent to the 0D model, and conversely, scalar values computed by the 0D model must be distributed as a (vector) field along a boundary manifold of the 3D model. For discrete-time models (eg., software), components may communicate in many ways (shared variables, message passing, …), and computations can be time- or event-triggered. All these features are captured as data-/behavior-coordination patterns, as exemplified by the GEMOC initiative (http://gemoc.org).

In the Glose project, we propose to formalize the behavioral semantics of several modeling languages used at system-level. These semantics will be used to extract behavioral language interfaces supporting the definition of coordination patterns. These patterns, in turn, can systematically be used to drive the coordination of any model conforming to these languages. The co-simulation of a system-level architecture consists in an orchestration of hundreds to thousands of components. This orchestration is achieved by a master algorithm, in charge of triggering the communication and computation steps of each component. It takes into account the components' interfaces, and the data-/behavior-coordination patterns found in the system architecture model. Because simulation scalability is a major issue, the scheduling policy computed by the master algorithm should be optimal. Parallel or distributed simulations may even be required. This implies that the master algorithm should be hierarchical and possibly distributed.

In 2019, the Hycomes team has been working on the use of Quantized State System (QSS) nethods for the cosimulation of aeronautics system models. The aim is to design new distributed simulation protocols, capable of simulating large, but heterogeneous system models. The investigation is on the trade-offs between pessimistic simulation techniques, where no roll-back is required, and speculative methods, where roll-back may be required. The latter method can be beneficial to the performance and scalability of the simulation, provided roll-backs do not happen too often. The models under consideration are cyberphysical systems consisting in both Modelica models (for the physics) and discrete-time models expressed in a dedicated language (for the control).

In 2019, the Hycones team has delivered one report, detailing the state-of-the-art techniques for continuous systems cosimulation.