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Where next?

Here at Simulistics we now turn our attention to the next major release of Simile, version 5.0. The big idea here is that we will extend the functionality to event-based simulation, thus bringing problems such as assembly-line or network traffic modelling within Simile's capabilities. It has always been our philosophy that new capabilities should integrate seamlessly with existing functionality, and we anticipate a product which will allow continuous change and discrete events to interact within the same simulation. Simile's special relevance to the life sciences will still be a great strength, as both nature and nature's husbandry by humans involve happenings that are best modelled as discrete events.

But there is more to a new software product than its central big idea. We will also continue to work on other functionality extensions and usability enhancements. To this end we would like to know more about what you, the customer, think of our current offering. Is there any feature you would particularly like to see? (At this point, check the v4.3 enhancements -- it may already be there). Conversely, is there any aspect of the product that really annoys you? Rather than attempt to conduct a formal survey, with its limited lists of options, we invite you to post your observations to our forum under the special heading "Where next?". And of course if anyone is having serious usability problems with the current version, we will fix them in a new v4 release which will be free to all v4 users.

We'd also like to know about factors affecting the uptake of Simile by others within your organization. In particular, do you find that demonstrating Simile models improves your ability to communicate ideas -- and if not, are there any changes you can imagine which might make it easier to present your work with Simile models? We'd be pleased to hear from anyone who has worked with a Simile modeller, particularly about what affects their decision as to whether or not to use it themselves.