A variable-step interaction algorithm for multidisciplinary collaborative simulation

Hongwei Wang, Huachao Mao, Heming Zhang

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    Multidisciplinary collaborative simulation is an important technique for the development of complex engineering systems such as aircrafts and automobiles. It emphasizes the synergic collaboration of multidisciplinary computational models, involving the ex-change of simulation data generated in parallel at runtime from the numerical integration processes of these models. Current re-search on the interaction of models in multidisciplinary collaborative simulation is mainly focused on performing data exchange at fixed intervals, i.e. macro time steps, and using interpolation/extrapolation to find out values at the points in time when data are not available. However, the selection of an appropriate size for macro time tends to be complex and iterative. Firstly, it is mostly based on experience rather than the estimation of simulation errors by analyzing the numerical integration processes involved. Moreover, it is hardly possible to select a fixed step size suitable for all the stages of the simulation process. This paper presents a novel variable-step algorithm which is able to adjust the step size automatically at simulation runtime based on the evaluation of truncation errors. This algorithm not only avoids the instability and inaccuracy caused by a fixed large step but also speeds up the simulation by using a smaller step when a large one is not necessary. It is demonstrated in the numerical experiments that the variable-step algorithm can achieve improved simulation performance in terms of both speed and accuracy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)263-279
    JournalIntegrated Computer-Aided Engineering
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


    • Product design
    • collaborative simulation
    • numerical integration
    • truncation error estimation
    • variable-step algorithm


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