Publication | Winter Simulation Conference 2018

A Symmetric Formalism for Discrete Event Simulation with Agents


A Symmetric Formalism for Discrete Event Simulation with Agents

Rhys Goldstein, Simon Breslav, Azam Khan

Winter Simulation Conference 2018

In designing a general modeling formalism for domain experts, a key challenge is to support a broad selection of their preferred paradigms yet minimize their exposure to complexity. With this aim, a formalism called Symmetric DEVS is proposed for specifying models that incorporate elements of discrete event simulation, dataflow programming, and agent-based modeling. Symmetric DEVS is based on the Discrete Event System Specification (DEVS) formalism, but differs in that atomic and composite nodes for discrete events are complemented with function and collection nodes for dataflow and agents. Like DEVS, nodes communicate over simulated time via message ports, but they also feature flow ports accommodating initialization and finalization operations. To minimize conceptual complexity, specifications are pared down to the essential elements and formulated to exhibit a high degree of symmetry. This paper defines the mathematical elements of Symmetric DEVS and presents an example of each of the four types of nodes.

Download publication

Related Resources



Generative design for COVID-19 and future pathogens using stochastic multi-agent simulation

Proposing a generative design workflow that integrates a stochastic…



Toward a Multi-Level and Multi-Paradigm Platform for Building Occupant Simulation

In recent years, simulation has been used to investigate the mutual…



Practical Aspects of the DesignDEVS Simulation Environment

DesignDEVS is a simulation development environment based on the…



Simulating Use Scenarios in Hospitals using Multi-Agent Narratives

Anticipating building-related complexities ensuing from occupants’…

Get in touch

Something pique your interest? Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about Autodesk Research, our projects, people, and potential collaboration opportunities.

Contact us