InterDyne Modelling

The InterDyne Simulator - Modelling

An InterDyne model can be viewed either as an analytically-tractable executable specification or as an agent-based model.  Taking the latter approach,  the model consists of a number of agents communicating via the passing of messages.  By defining in advance which agents may communicate with which other agents, a graph structure is created where the nodes are agents and the edges are permissible one-to-one communication paths.  Agents may also send a one-to-many message to a broadcast channel; each agent declares in advance the broadcast channels to which it will listen.

InterDyne is run by executing the function "sim" applied to appropriate arguments.  The function sim has type  sim :: Int -> [Arg_t] ->  [(Agent_t, [Int])] -> IO()  where the first argument is the number of time steps for the simulation, the second argument is a list of (key, value) pairs ("runtime arguments") that are made available to every agent in the system, and the third argument is a list of information about each agent (namely, a two-tuple containing the agent function of type Agent_t and a list of broadcast channel IDs to which the agent will listen).  Output is sent to a file.  Each agent is uniquely identified by its position in the list of agent information - the first agent has ID=1, the second has ID=2 and so on.  ID=0 is reserved for the "simulator harness" function that mediates messaging and controls the passage of time during simulation.  The agent identifiers are used to specify the source and destination of all one-to-one messages.

Agents are functions that consume a potentially-infinite list of inbound messages and generate a potentially-infinite list of outbound messages.  At each time step an agent must consume one item from the inbound list and must generate one new item on the outbound list.  Each item in these lists is itself a list, so that at each time step an agent may receive multiple inbound messages and may generate multiple outbound messages.  If an agent does not have any messages to receive or send at a given time step then it will either receive or generate an empty list.  Optionally an agent may distinguish between an output item that is an empty list by mistake and an output item that is an empty list by design - it does this by generating an output item that is an empty list containing the distinguished empty message called a "Hiaton".

Christopher D. Clack
Department of Computer Science
Gower Street