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What's new in Simile v4.0 - sneak preview

Simile v4.0 Feature List

We're planning to release Simile v4.0 in April, after an extensive test program, but in the meantime most of the new features are in place. Here's a sneak preview...

* Cut / copy / paste elements on the model diagram canvas using a new, more consistent selection tool.

* Open multiple models simultaneously, allowing copy and paste to work between models.

* Refer to collections of objects by name, rather than index number, such as an array of "fruits" with indices "apples", "oranges" and "pears".

* Use physical units, such as kg/s, with automatic error-checking of dimensions in equations.

* Run simulations with more numerical accuracy with less computer power, using Runge-Kutta integration.

* Build spatial models with more grid squares, using a new one-sided relation enumeration. Performance now scales with the number of pixels, not the square of the number of pixels.

* Construct in-step iterative loops to solve common modeling problems.

* Perform simulations backward! Specify the final conditions of the model, and run time backwards to determine how the system must have looked in the past.

* Access external data more quickly using the improved file parameters, including the option to create as many instances of a submodel as there are items of data..

* Halt models under user-specified conditions using the new stop function.

* Enjoy the cleaner look-and-feel, including the new hierarchical function list, allowing easier access to user-defined functions in C++.

Are these the features you were hoping to see? What's missing? Leave a note letting us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you.

Alastair Davies


After working with Simile for a few weeks, I've prepared a list of features I'd like to have - and now I see that most of them are already in the next version - great!

One (hopefully) simple addition I'd like to see: Better support for accented letters and "Umlauts". When I call a compartment "Größe" then the variable shows up as "Gr__e" in the equation editor. This is not quite what I expected.

Another important point is better support for creation of user-defined submodels. Right now I'm discussing this with Robert Muetzelfeldt via email, but I can switch to this forum, if anybody is interested.

Peter Junglas
FHWT (U. of Technology Vechta/Diepholz, Germany)

Simile 3.2 is already a superb modelling tool, but 4.0 sounds even better. One limitation with 3.2 is evident when I try to explain complex models to others. Simile has nice features to hide unnecessary detail, and to provide wallpaper for submodels. That's great to introduce people to an overview of a model, but it is a slow process to turn on the full detail. I tend to paste images into MS-Powerpoint and do a 'canned' introduction, before showing the detail, but that leaves some people wondering how much is 'faked'. I'd find it useful if Simile allowed different 'views'. MS-Word has different views: a normal view for efficient editing, a print-layout view for formatting, and an outline view for structuring documents. Could Simile also offer different views? I'd like a presentation view in which I might omit some detail and use wallpaper, a working view which showed all the detail without wallpaper, and an equation view like the 'list equations' window, but which could be edited. This would be really helpful to engage broader groups with existing complex Simile models.

Jerry Vanclay, Southern Cross University, Australia