Simulation is a way to model random events, such that simulated outcomes closely match real-world outcomes. By observing simulated outcomes, researchers gain insight on the real world. Simulation is a procedure to create a model that behaves like a real situation. Experimental results, an estimated probability can be calculated makes random guesses for each question.
Simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. The act of simulating something first requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key characteristics or behaviors/functions of the selected physical or abstract system or process. The model represents the system itself, whereas the simulation represents the operation of the system over time. (sokolowski, 2009).
Simulation is used in many contexts, such as simulation of technology for performance optimization, safety engineering, testing, training, education, and video games. Often, computer experiments are used to study simulation models. Simulation is also used with scientific modelling of natural systems or human systems to gain insight into their functioning. Simulation can be used to show the eventual real effects of alternative conditions and courses of action. Simulation is also used when the real system cannot be engaged, because it may not be accessible, or it may be dangerous or unacceptable to engage, or it is being designed but not yet built, or it may simply not exist, (carson, 2001).
Key issues in simulation include acquisition of valid source information about the relevant selection of key characteristics and behaviours, the use of simplifying approximations and assumptions within the simulation, and fidelity and validity of the simulation outcomes.
CLASSIFICATION AND TERMINOLOGY
Historically, simulations used in different fields developed largely independently, but 20th century studies of systems theory and cybernetics combined with spreading use of computers across all those fields have led to some unification and a more systematic view of the concept.
Physical simulation refers to simulation in which physical objects are substituted for the real thing (some circles use the term for computer simulations modelling selected laws of physics, but this article doesn’t). These physical objects are often chosen because they are smaller or cheaper than the actual object or system.
Interactive simulation is a special kind of physical simulation, often referred to as a human in the loop simulation, in which physical simulations include human operators, such as in a flight simulator or a driving simulator.
Human in the loop simulations can include a computer simulation as a so-called synthetic environment.
Simulation in failure analysis refers to simulation in which we create environment/conditions to identify the cause of equipment failure. This was the best and fastest method to identify the failure cause.
A computer simulation (or “sim”) is an attempt to model a real-life or hypothetical situation on a computer so that it can be studied to see how the system works. By changing variables in the simulation, predictions may be made about the behaviour of the system. It is a tool to virtually investigate the behaviour of the system under study.
Computer simulation has become a useful part of modeling many natural systems in physics, chemistry and biology, and human systems in economics and social science (e.g., computational sociology) as well as in engineering to gain insight into the operation of those systems. A good example of the usefulness of using computers to simulate can be found in the field of network traffic simulation. In such simulations, the model behaviour will change each simulation according to the set of initial parameters assumed for the environment.
Traditionally, the formal modeling of systems has been via a mathematical model, which attempts to find analytical solutions enabling the prediction of the behaviour of the system from a set of parameters and initial conditions. Computer simulation is often used as an adjunct to, or substitution for, modeling systems for which simple closed form analytic solutions are not possible. There are many different types of computer simulation, the common feature they all share is the attempt to generate a sample of representative scenarios for a model in which a complete enumeration of all possible states would be prohibitive or impossible.
Several software packages exist for running computer-based simulation modeling (e.g. Monte Carlo simulation, stochastic modeling, multimethod modeling) that makes all the modeling almost effortless. Modern usage of the term “computer simulation” may encompass virtually any computer-based representation.
In computer science, simulation has some specialized meanings: Alan Turing used the term “simulation” to refer to what happens when a universal machine executes a state transition table (in modern terminology, a computer runs a program) that describes the state transitions, inputs and outputs of a subject discrete-state machine. The computer simulates the subject machine. Accordingly, in theoretical computer science the term simulation is a relation between state transition systems, useful in the study of operational semantics.
Less theoretically, an interesting application of computer simulation is to simulate computers using computers. In computer architecture, a type of simulator, typically called an emulator, is often used to execute a program that has to run on some inconvenient type of computer (for example, a newly designed computer that has not yet been built or an obsolete computer that is no longer available), or in a tightly controlled testing environment (see Computer architecture simulator and Platform virtualization). For example, simulators have been used to debug a microprogram or sometimes commercial application programs, before the program is downloaded to the target machine. Since the operation of the computer is simulated, all of the information about the computer’s operation is directly available to the programmer, and the speed and execution of the simulation can be varied at will.
Simulators may also be used to interpret fault trees, or test VLSI logic designs before they are constructed. Symbolic simulation uses variables to stand for unknown values.(davidovitch, 2009)
In the field of optimization, simulations of physical processes are often used in conjunction with evolutionary computation to optimize control strategies.
SIMULATION IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Simulation is extensively used for educational purposes. It is frequently used by way of adaptive hypermedia.
Simulation is often used in the training of civilian and military personnel. This usually occurs when it is prohibitively expensive or simply too dangerous to allow trainees to use the real equipment in the real world. In such situations they will spend time learning valuable lessons in a “safe” virtual environment yet living a lifelike experience (or at least it is the goal). Often the convenience is to permit mistakes during training for a safety-critical system. There is a distinction, though, between simulations used for training and Instructional simulation.
Training simulations typically come in one of three categories:
• “live” simulation (where actual players use genuine systems in a real environment);
• “virtual” simulation (where actual players use simulated systems in a synthetic environment ), or
• “constructive” simulation (where simulated players use simulated systems in a synthetic environment). Constructive simulation is often referred to as “wargaming” since it bears some resemblance to table-top war games in which players command armies of soldiers and equipment that move around a board.
In standardized tests, “live” simulations are sometimes called “high-fidelity”, producing “samples of likely performance”, as opposed to “low-fidelity”, “pencil-and-paper” simulations producing only “signs of possible performance”, but the distinction between high, moderate and low fidelity remains relative, depending on the context of a particular comparison.
Simulations in education are somewhat like training simulations. They focus on specific tasks. The term ‘microworld’ is used to refer to educational simulations which model some abstract concept rather than simulating a realistic object or environment, or in some cases model a real world environment in a simplistic way so as to help a learner develop an understanding of the key concepts. Normally, a user can create some sort of construction within the microworld that will behave in a way consistent with the concepts being modeled. Seymour Papert was one of the first to advocate the value of microworlds, and the Logo programming environment developed by Papert is one of the most famous microworlds. As another example, the Global Challenge Award online STEM learning web site uses microworld simulations to teach science concepts related to global warming and the future of energy. Other projects for simulations in educations are Open Source Physics, NetSim etc.
Project Management Simulation is increasingly used to train students and professionals in the art and science of project management. Using simulation for project management training improves learning retention and enhances the learning process.
Social simulations may be used in social science classrooms to illustrate social and political processes in anthropology, economics, history, political science, or sociology courses, typically at the high school or university level. These may, for example, take the form of civics simulations, in which participants assume roles in a simulated society, or international relations simulations in which participants engage in negotiations, alliance formation, trade, diplomacy, and the use of force. Such simulations might be based on fictitious political systems, or be based on current or historical events. An example of the latter would be Barnard College’s Reacting to the Past series of historical educational games. The National Science Foundation has also supported the creation of reacting games that address science and math education. (A. shtub, 2009).
In recent years, there has been increasing use of social simulations for staff training in aid and development agencies. The Carana simulation, for example, was first developed by the United Nations Development Programme, and is now used in a very revised form by the World Bank for training staff to deal with fragile and conflict-affected countries.
COMMON USER INTERACTION SYSTEMS FOR VIRTUAL SIMULATIONS
Virtual simulations represent a specific category of simulation that utilizes simulation equipment to create a simulated world for the user. Virtual simulations allow users to interact with a virtual world. Virtual worlds operate on platforms of integrated software and hardware components. In this manner, the system can accept input from the user (e.g., body tracking, voice/sound recognition, physical controllers) and produce output to the user (e.g., visual display, aural display, haptic display). Virtual Simulations use the aforementioned modes of interaction to produce a sense of immersion for the user.
VIRTUAL SIMULATION INPUT HARDWARE
There is a wide variety of input hardware available to accept user input for virtual simulations. The following list briefly describes several of them:
Body tracking The motion capture method is often used to record the user’s movements and translate the captured data into inputs for the virtual simulation. For example, if a user physically turns their head, the motion would be captured by the simulation hardware in some way and translated to a corresponding shift in view within the simulation.
• Capture suits and/or gloves may be used to capture movements of users body parts. The systems may have sensors incorporated inside them to sense movements of different body parts (e.g., fingers). Alternatively, these systems may have exterior tracking devices or marks that can be detected by external ultrasound, optical receivers or electromagnetic sensors. Internal inertial sensors are also available on some systems. The units may transmit data either wirelessly or through cables.
• Eye trackers can also be used to detect eye movements so that the system can determine precisely where a user is looking at any given instant.
Physical controllers Physical controllers provide input to the simulation only through direct manipulation by the user. In virtual simulations, tactile feedback from physical controllers is highly desirable in a number of simulation environments.
• Omni directional treadmills can be used to capture the users locomotion as they walk or run.
• High fidelity instrumentation such as instrument panels in virtual aircraft cockpits provides users with actual controls to raise the level of immersion. For example, pilots can use the actual global positioning system controls from the real device in a simulated cockpit to help them practice procedures with the actual device in the context of the integrated cockpit system.
Voice/sound recognition This form of interaction may be used either to interact with agents within the simulation (e.g., virtual people) or to manipulate objects in the simulation (e.g., information). Voice interaction presumably increases the level of immersion for the user.
• Users may use headsets with boom microphones, lapel microphones or the room may be equipped with strategically located microphones.
Current research into user input systems Research in future input systems hold a great deal of promise for virtual simulations. Systems such as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)Brain-computer interface offer the ability to further increase the level of immersion for virtual simulation users. Lee, Keinrath, Scherer, Bischof, Pfurtscheller proved that naïve subjects could be trained to use a BCI to navigate a virtual apartment with relative ease. Using the BCI, the authors found that subjects were able to freely navigate the virtual environment with relatively minimal effort. It is possible that these types of systems will become standard input modalities in future virtual simulation systems.
VIRTUAL SIMULATION OUTPUT HARDWARE
There is a wide variety of output hardware available to deliver stimulus to users in virtual simulations. The following list briefly describes several of them:
Visual display Visual displays provide the visual stimulus to the user.
• Stationary displays can vary from a conventional desktop display to 360-degree wrap around screens to stereo three-dimensional screens. Conventional desktop displays can vary in size from 15 to 60+ inches. Wrap around screens are typically utilized in what is known as a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) Cave Automatic Virtual Environment. Stereo three-dimensional screens produce three-dimensional images either with or without special glasses—depending on the design.
• Head mounted displays (HMDs) have small displays that are mounted on headgear worn by the user. These systems are connected directly into the virtual simulation to provide the user with a more immersive experience. Weight, update rates and field of view are some of the key variables that differentiate HMDs. Naturally, heavier HMDs are undesirable as they cause fatigue over time. If the update rate is too slow, the system is unable to update the displays fast enough to correspond with a quick head turn by the user. Slower update rates tend to cause simulation sickness and disrupt the sense of immersion. Field of view or the angular extent of the world that is seen at a given moment Field of view can vary from system to system and has been found to affect the users sense of immersion.
Aural display several different types of audio systems exist to help the user hear and localize sounds spatially. Special software can be used to produce 3D audio effects 3D audio to create the illusion that sound sources are placed within a defined three-dimensional space around the user.
• Stationary conventional speaker systems may be used provide dual or multi-channel surround sound. However, external speakers are not as effective as headphones in producing 3D audio effects.
• Conventional headphones offer a portable alternative to stationary speakers. They also have the added advantages of masking real world noise and facilitate more effective 3D audio sound effects.
Haptic display These displays provide sense of touch to the user Haptic technology. This type of output is sometimes referred to as force feedback.
• Tactile tile displays use different types of actuators such as inflatable bladders, vibrators, low frequency sub-woofers, pin actuators and/or thermo-actuators to produce sensations for the user.
• End effector displays can respond to users inputs with resistance and force. These systems are often used in medical applications for remote surgeries that employ robotic instruments.
Vestibular display These displays provide a sense of motion to the user Motion simulator. They often manifest as motion bases for virtual vehicle simulation such as driving simulators or flight simulators. Motion bases are fixed in place but use actuators to move the simulator in ways that can produce the sensations pitching, yawing or rolling. The simulators can also move in such a way as to produce a sense of acceleration on all axes (e.g., the motion base can produce the sensation of falling).
CLINICAL HEALTHCARE SIMULATORS
Medical simulators are increasingly being developed and deployed to teach therapeutic and diagnostic procedures as well as medical concepts and decision making to personnel in the health professions. Simulators have been developed for training procedures ranging from the basics such as blood draw, to laparoscopic surgery and trauma care. They are also important to help on prototyping new devices for biomedical engineering problems. Currently, simulators are applied to research and develop tools for new therapies, treatments and early diagnosis in medicine.
Many medical simulators involve a computer connected to a plastic simulation of the relevant anatomy. Sophisticated simulators of this type employ a life size mannequin that responds to injected drugs and can be programmed to create simulations of life-threatening emergencies. In other simulations, visual components of the procedure are reproduced by computer graphics techniques, while touch-based components are reproduced by haptic feedback devices combined with physical simulation routines computed in response to the user’s actions. Medical simulations of this sort will often use 3D CT or MRI scans of patient data to enhance realism. Some medical simulations are developed to be widely distributed (such as web-enabled simulations and procedural simulations that can be viewed via standard web browsers) and can be interacted with using standard computer interfaces, such as the keyboard and mouse.
Another important medical application of a simulator — although, perhaps, denoting a slightly different meaning of simulator — is the use of a placebo drug, a formulation that simulates the active drug in trials of drug efficacy).
IMPROVING PATIENT SAFETY
Innovative simulation training solutions are now being used to train medical professionals in an attempt to reduce the number of safety concerns that have adverse effects on the patients. However, according to the article Does Simulation Improve Patient Safety? Self-efficacy, Competence, Operational Performance, and Patient Safety (Nishisaki A., Keren R., and Nadkarni, V., 2007), the jury is still out. Nishisaki states that “There is good evidence that simulation training improves provider and team self-efficacy and competence on manikins. There is also good evidence that procedural simulation improves actual operational performance in clinical settings. However, no evidence yet shows that crew resource management training through simulation, despite its promise, improves team operational performance at the bedside. Although evidence that simulation-based training actually improves patient outcome has been slow to accrue, today the ability of simulation to provide hands-on experience that translates to the operating room is no longer in doubt.
One such attempt to improve patient safety through the use of simulations training is pediatric care to deliver just-in-time service or/and just-in-place. This training consists of 20 minutes of simulated training just before workers report to shift. It is hoped that the recentness of the training will increase the positive and reduce the negative results that have generally been associated with the procedure. The purpose of this study is to determine if just-in-time training improves patient safety and operational performance of orotracheal intubation and decrease occurrences of undesired associated events and “to test the hypothesis that high fidelity simulation may enhance the training efficacy and patient safety in simulation settings.” The conclusion as reported in Abstract P38: Just-In-Time Simulation Training Improves ICU Physician Trainee Airway Resuscitation Participation without Compromising Procedural Success or Safety (Nishisaki A., 2008), were that simulation training improved resident participation in real cases; but did not sacrifice the quality of service. It could be therefore hypothesized that by increasing the number of highly trained residents through the use of simulation training, that the simulation training does in fact increase patient safety. This hypothesis would have to be researched for validation and the results may or may not generalize to other situations.
Simulators have been proposed as an ideal tool for assessment of students for clinical skills. For patients, “cybertherapy” can be used for sessions simulating traumatic experiences, from fear of heights to social anxiety.
Programmed patients and simulated clinical situations, including mock disaster drills, have been used extensively for education and evaluation. These “lifelike” simulations are expensive, and lack reproducibility. A fully functional “3Di” simulator would be the most specific tool available for teaching and measurement of clinical skills. Gaming platforms have been applied to create these virtual medical environments to create an interactive method for learning and application of information in a clinical context.
Immersive disease state simulations allow a doctor or HCP to experience what a disease actually feels like. Using sensors and transducers symptomatic effects can be delivered to a participant allowing them to experience the patients disease state.
Such a simulator meets the goals of an objective and standardized examination for clinical competence. This system is superior to examinations that use “standard patients” because it permits the quantitative measurement of competence, as well as reproducing the same objective findings.
SIMULATION AND MANUFACTURING
Manufacturing represents one of the most important applications of Simulation. This technique represents a valuable tool used by engineers when evaluating the effect of capital investment in equipments and physical facilities like factory plants, warehouses, and distribution centers. Simulation can be used to predict the performance of an existing or planned system and to compare alternative solutions for a particular design problem.
Another important goal of manufacturing-simulations is to quantify system performance. Common measures of system performance include the following:
• Throughput under average and peak loads;
• System cycle time (how long it take to produce one part);
• Utilization of resource, labor, and machines;
• Bottlenecks and choke points;
• Queuing at work locations;
• Queuing and delays caused by material-handling devices and systems;
• WIP storages needs;
• Staffing requirements;
• Effectiveness of scheduling systems;
• Effectiveness of control systems.
MORE EXAMPLES OF SIMULATION
An automobile simulator provides an opportunity to reproduce the characteristics of real vehicles in a virtual environment. It replicates the external factors and conditions with which a vehicle interacts enabling a driver to feel as if they are sitting in the cab of their own vehicle. Scenarios and events are replicated with sufficient reality to ensure that drivers become fully immersed in the experience rather than simply viewing it as an educational experience.
The simulator provides a constructive experience for the novice driver and enables more complex exercises to be undertaken by the more mature driver. For novice drivers, truck simulators provide an opportunity to begin their career by applying best practice. For mature drivers, simulation provides the ability to enhance good driving or to detect poor practice and to suggest the necessary steps for remedial action. For companies, it provides an opportunity to educate staff in the driving skills that achieve reduced maintenance costs, improved productivity and, most importantly, to ensure the safety of their actions in all possible situations.
An open-source simulation platform for creating dynamic mechanical models built from combinations of rigid and deformable bodies, joints, constraints, and various force actuators. It is specialized for creating biomechanical models of human anatomical structures, with the intention to study their function and eventually assist in the design and planning of medical treatment.
A biomechanics simulator is used to analyze walking dynamics, study sports performance, simulate surgical procedures, analyze joint loads, design medical devices, and animate human and animal movement.
A neuromechanical simulator that combines biomechanical and biologically realistic neural network simulation. It allows the user to test hypotheses on the neural basis of behavior in a physically accurate 3-D virtual environment.
City and urban
A city simulator can be a city-building game but can also be a tool used by urban planners to understand how cities are likely to evolve in response to various policy decisions. AnyLogic is an example of modern, large-scale urban simulators designed for use by urban planners. City simulators are generally agent-based simulations with explicit representations for land use and transportation. UrbanSim and LEAM are examples of large-scale urban simulation models that are used by metropolitan planning agencies and military bases for land use and transportation planning.
Classroom of the future
The “classroom of the future” will probably contain several kinds of simulators, in addition to textual and visual learning tools. This will allow students to enter the clinical years better prepared, and with a higher skill level. The advanced student or postgraduate will have a more concise and comprehensive method of retraining — or of incorporating new clinical procedures into their skill set — and regulatory bodies and medical institutions will find it easier to assess the proficiency and competency of individuals.
The classroom of the future will also form the basis of a clinical skills unit for continuing education of medical personnel; and in the same way that the use of periodic flight training assists airline pilots, this technology will assist practitioners throughout their career.
The simulator will be more than a “living” textbook, it will become an integral a part of the practice of medicine. The simulator environment will also provide a standard platform for curriculum development in institutions of medical education.
Modern satellite communications systems (SatCom) are often large and complex with many interacting parts and elements. In addition, the need for broadband connectivity on a moving vehicle has increased dramatically in the past few years for both commercial and military applications. To accurately predict and deliver high quality of service, satcom system designers have to factor in terrain as well as atmospheric and meteorological conditions in their planning. To deal with such complexity, system designers and operators increasingly turn towards computer models of their systems to simulate real world operational conditions and gain insights into usability and requirements prior to final product sign-off. Modeling improves the understanding of the system by enabling the SatCom system designer or planner to simulate real world performance by injecting the models with multiple hypothetical atmospheric and environmental conditions. Simulation is often used in the training of civilian and military personnel. This usually occurs when it is prohibitively expensive or simply too dangerous to allow trainees to use the real equipment in the real world. In such situations they will spend time learning valuable lessons in a “safe” virtual environment yet living a lifelike experience (or at least it is the goal). Often the convenience is to permit mistakes during training for a safety-critical system.
Simulation solutions are being increasingly integrated with CAx (CAD, CAM, CAE….) solutions and processes. The use of simulation throughout the product lifecycle, especially at the earlier concept and design stages, has the potential of providing substantial benefits. These benefits range from direct cost issues such as reduced prototyping and shorter time-to-market, to better performing products and higher margins. However, for some companies, simulation has not provided the expected benefits.
The research firm Aberdeen Group has found that nearly all best-in-class manufacturers use simulation early in the design process as compared to 3 or 4 laggards who do not.
The successful use of simulation, early in the lifecycle, has been largely driven by increased integration of simulation tools with the entire CAD, CAM and PLM solution-set. Simulation solutions can now function across the extended enterprise in a multi-CAD environment, and include solutions for managing simulation data and processes and ensuring that simulation results are made part of the product lifecycle history. The ability to use simulation across the entire lifecycle has been enhanced through improved user interfaces such as tailorable user interfaces and “wizards” which allow all appropriate PLM participants to take part in the simulation process.
Simulation training has become a method for preparing people for disasters. Simulations can replicate emergency situations and track how learners respond thanks to a lifelike experience. Disaster preparedness simulations can involve training on how to handle terrorism attacks, natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, or other life-threatening emergencies.
One organization that has used simulation training for disaster preparedness is CADE (Center for Advancement of Distance Education). CADE has used a video game to prepare emergency workers for multiple types of attacks. As reported by News-Medical.Net, ”The video game is the first in a series of simulations to address bioterrorism, pandemic flu, smallpox and other disasters that emergency personnel must prepare for.” Developed by a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the game allows learners to practice their emergency skills in a safe, controlled environment.
The Emergency Simulation Program (ESP) at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada is another example of an organization that uses simulation to train for emergency situations. ESP uses simulation to train on the following situations: forest fire fighting, oil or chemical spill response, earthquake response, law enforcement, municipal fire fighting, hazardous material handling, military training, and response to terrorist attack One feature of the simulation system is the implementation of “Dynamic Run-Time Clock,” which allows simulations to run a ‘simulated’ time frame, “’speeding up’ or ‘slowing down’ time as desired” Additionally, the system allows session recordings, picture-icon based navigation, file storage of individual simulations, multimedia components, and launch external applications.
At the University of Québec in Chicoutimi, a research team at the outdoor research and expertise laboratory (Laboratoire d’Expertise et de Recherche en Plein Air – LERPA) specializes in using wilderness backcountry accident simulations to verify emergency response coordination.
Instructionally, the benefits of emergency training through simulations are that learner performance can be tracked through the system. This allows the developer to make adjustments as necessary or alert the educator on topics that may require additional attention. Other advantages are that the learner can be guided or trained on how to respond appropriately before continuing to the next emergency segment—this is an aspect that may not be available in the live-environment. Some emergency training simulators also allows for immediate feedback, while other simulations may provide a summary and instruct the learner to engage in the learning topic again.
In a live-emergency situation, emergency responders do not have time to waste. Simulation-training in this environment provides an opportunity for learners to gather as much information as they can and practice their knowledge in a safe environment. They can make mistakes without risk of endangering lives and be given the opportunity to correct their errors to prepare for the real-life emergency.
Engineering, technology, and processes
Simulation is an important feature in engineering systems or any system that involves many processes. For example in electrical engineering, delay lines may be used to simulate propagation delay and phase shift caused by an actual transmission line. Similarly, dummy loads may be used to simulate impedance without simulating propagation, and is used in situations where propagation is unwanted. A simulator may imitate only a few of the operations and functions of the unit it simulates. Contrast with: emulate.
Most engineering simulations entail mathematical modeling and computer assisted investigation. There are many cases, however, where mathematical modeling is not reliable. Simulation of fluid dynamics problems often require both mathematical and physical simulations. In these cases the physical models require dynamic similitude. Physical and chemical simulations have also direct realistic uses, rather than research uses; in chemical engineering, for example, process simulations are used to give the process parameters immediately used for operating chemical plants, such as oil refineries. Simulators are also used for plant operator training. It is called Operator Training Simulator (OTS) and has been widely adopted by many industries from chemical to oil & gas and to power industry. This created a safe and realistic virtual environment to train board operators and engineers. Mimic is capable of providing high fidelity dynamic models of nearly all chemical plants for operator training and control system testing.
Due to the dangerous and expensive nature of training on heavy equipment, simulation has become a common solution across many industries. Types of simulated equipment include cranes, mining reclaimers and construction equipment, among many others. Often the simulation units will include pre-built scenarios by which to teach trainees, as well as the ability to customize new scenarios. Such equipment simulators are intended to create a safe and cost effective alternative to training on live equipment.
Ergonomic simulation involves the analysis of virtual products or manual tasks within a virtual environment. In the engineering process, the aim of ergonomics is to develop and to improve the design of products and work environments. Ergonomic simulation utilizes an anthropometric virtual representation of the human, commonly referenced as a mannequin or Digital Human Models (DHMs), to mimic the postures, mechanical loads, and performance of a human operator in a simulated environment such as an airplane, automobile, or manufacturing facility. DHMs are recognized as evolving and valuable tool for performing proactive ergonomics analysis and design. The simulations employ 3D-graphics and physics-based models to animate the virtual humans. Ergonomics software uses inverse kinematics (IK) capability for posing the DHMs. Several ergonomic simulation tools have been developed including Jack, SAFEWORK, RAMSIS, and SAMMIE.
The software tools typically calculate biomechanical properties including individual muscle forces, joint forces and moments. Most of these tools employ standard ergonomic evaluation methods such as the NIOSH lifting equation and Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA). Some simulations also analyze physiological measures including metabolism, energy expenditure, and fatigue limits Cycle time studies, design and process validation, user comfort, reachability, and line of sight are other human-factors that may be examined in ergonomic simulation packages.
Modeling and simulation of a task can be performed by manually manipulating the virtual human in the simulated environment. Some ergonomics simulation software permits interactive, real-time simulation and evaluation through actual human input via motion capture technologies. However, motion capture for ergonomics requires expensive equipment and the creation of props to represent the environment or product.
Some applications of ergonomic simulation in include analysis of solid waste collection, disaster management tasks, interactive gaming, automotive assembly line, virtual prototyping of rehabilitation aids, and aerospace product design. Ford engineers use ergonomics simulation software to perform virtual product design reviews. Using engineering data, the simulations assist evaluation of assembly ergonomics. The company uses Siemen’s Jack and Jill ergonomics simulation software in improving worker safety and efficiency, without the need to build expensive prototypes.
In finance, computer simulations are often used for scenario planning. Risk-adjusted net present value, for example, is computed from well-defined but not always known (or fixed) inputs. By imitating the performance of the project under evaluation, simulation can provide a distribution of NPV over a range of discount rates and other variables.
Simulations are frequently used in financial training to engage participants in experiencing various historical as well as fictional situations. There are stock market simulations, portfolio simulations, risk management simulations or models and forex simulations. Such simulations are typically based on stochastic asset models. Using these simulations in a training program allows for the application of theory into a something akin to real life. As with other industries, the use of simulations can be technology or case-study driven.
Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTD) are used to train pilots on the ground. In comparison to training in an actual aircraft, simulation based training allows for the training of maneuvers or situations that may be impractical (or even dangerous) to perform in the aircraft, while keeping the pilot and instructor in a relatively low-risk environment on the ground. For example, electrical system failures, instrument failures, hydraulic system failures, and even flight control failures can be simulated without risk to the pilots or an aircraft.
Instructors can also provide students with a higher concentration of training tasks in a given period of time than is usually possible in the aircraft. For example, conducting multiple instrument approaches in the actual aircraft may require significant time spent repositioning the aircraft, while in a simulation, as soon as one approach has been completed, the instructor can immediately preposition the simulated aircraft to an ideal (or less than ideal) location from which to begin the next approach.
Flight simulation also provides an economic advantage over training in an actual aircraft. Once fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs are taken into account, the operating costs of an FSTD are usually substantially lower than the operating costs of the simulated aircraft. For some large transport category airplanes, the operating costs may be several times lower for the FSTD than the actual aircraft.
Some people who use simulator software, especially flight simulator software, build their own simulator at home. Some people — to further the realism of their homemade simulator — buy used cards and racks that run the same software used by the original machine. While this involves solving the problem of matching hardware and software — and the problem that hundreds of cards plug into many different racks — many still find that solving these problems is well worthwhile. Some are so serious about realistic simulation that they will buy real aircraft parts, like complete nose sections of written-off aircraft, at aircraft boneyards. This permits people to simulate a hobby that they are unable to pursue in real life.
Bearing resemblance to flight simulators, marine simulators train ships’ personnel. The most common marine simulators include:
• Ship’s bridge simulators
• Engine room simulators
• Cargo handling simulators
• Communication / GMDSS simulators
• ROV simulators
Simulators like these are mostly used within maritime colleges, training institutions and navies. They often consist of a replication of a ships’ bridge, with operating console(s), and a number of screens on which the virtual surroundings are projected.
Military simulations, also known informally as war games, are models in which theories of warfare can be tested and refined without the need for actual hostilities. They exist in many different forms, with varying degrees of realism. In recent times, their scope has widened to include not only military but also political and social factors (for example, the NationLab series of strategic exercises in Latin America). While many governments make use of simulation, both individually and collaboratively, little is known about the
Simulation can be a powerful alternative approach to doing science. Simulation makes it possible to study problems that are not easily addressed, or may be impossible to address, with other scientific approaches. Because organizations are complex systems and many of their characteristics and behaviors are often inaccessible to researchers, especially over long time frames, simulation can be a particularly useful research tool for organization theorists.
Simulation analysis offers a variety of benefits. It can be useful in developing theory and in guiding empirical work. It can provide insight into the operation of complex systems and explore their behavior. It can examine the consequences of theoretical arguments and assumptions, generate alternative explanations and hypotheses, and test the validity of explanations. Through its requirement for formal modeling, it imposes theoretical rigor and promotes scientific progress.
Simulation research also has problems and limitations. The value of simulation findings rests on the validity of the simulation model, which frequently must be constructed with little guidance from previous work and is prone to problems of misspecification. Experimental designs are often inadequate. Simulation work is technically demanding and highly susceptible to errors in computer programming. The data generated by simulations are not “real” and techniques for their analysis are limited. So claims based on simulation findings are necessarily qualified.
The role of simulation is not well understood by much of the organizational research community. Simulation is a legitimate, disciplined approach to scientific investigation, and its value needs to be recognized and appreciated. Properly used and kept in appropriate perspective, computer simulation is a useful research tool that opens up new avenues for organizational research. The computer simulations discussed in this paper provide a sample of a future direction in organizational research, and many samples in the future of organizational research are likely to be generated by computer simulations.
• J. Banks, J. Carson, B. Nelson, D. Nicol (2001). Discrete-Event System Simulation. Prentice
Hall. p. 3. ISBN 0-13-088702-1.
• • In the words of the Simulation article in Encyclopedia of Computer Science, “designing a
model of a real or imagined system and conducting experiments with that model”.
• • Sokolowski, J.A., Banks, C.M. (2009). Principles of Modeling and Simulation. Hoboken, NJ:
Wiley. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-470-28943-3.
• • For example in computer graphics SIGGRAPH 2007 | For Attendees | Papers
Doc:Tutorials/Physics/BSoD – BlenderWiki.
• • Thales defines synthetic environment as “the counterpart to simulated models of sensors,
platforms and other active objects” for “the simulation of the external factors that affect them” while other vendors use the term for more visual, virtual reality-style simulators .
• • For a popular research project in the field of biochemistry where “computer simulation is
particularly well suited to address these questions”Folding@home – Main, see Folding@Home.
• • For an academic take on a training simulator, see e.g. Towards Building an Interactive, \ Scenario-based Training Simulator, for medical application
Classification used by the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office.
“High Versus Low Fidelity Simulations: Does the Type of Format Affect Candidates’ Performance or Perceptions?”
• • Davidovitch, L., A. Parush and A. Shtub, Simulation-based Learning: The Learning-
Forgetting-Relearning Process and Impact of Learning History, Computers & Education, April 2008, Vol. 50, No. 3, 866–880
• • Davidovitch, L., A. Parush and A. Shtub, The Impact of Functional Fidelity in Simulator based Learning of Project Management,International Journal of Engineering Education, March 2009, Vol. 25, No. 2, 333–340(8)