Web-based simulation

Web-based simulation

The term web-based simulation (WBS) emerged in 1996, and is typically used to denote the invocation of computer simulation services over the internet, specifically through a web browser.[1][2] [3][4] Increasingly, the web is being looked upon as an environment for providing modeling and simulation applications, and as such, is an emerging area of investigation within the simulation community.[4][5][6]



Web-based simulation is used in several contexts:

  • In e-learning, various principles can quickly be illustrated to students by means of interactive computer animations, for example during lecture demonstrations and computer exercises.
  • In distance learning, web-based simulation may provide an alternative to installing expensive simulation software on the student computer, or an alternative to expensive laborative equipment.
  • In software engineering, web-based emulation allows application development and testing on one platform for other target platforms, for example for various mobile operating systems,.[7] or mobile web browsers, without the need of target hardware or locally installed emulation software.
  • In online computer games, 3D environments can be simulated, and old home computers and video game consoles can be emulated, allowing the user to play old computer games in the web browser.

Client vs server side approaches

Web-based simulation can either take place on the server-side or on the client-side. In server-side simulation, the numerical calculations and visualization (generation of plots and other computer graphics) is carried out on the web server, while the interactive graphical user interface (GUI) often partly is provided by the client-side, for example using server-side scripting such as PHP or CGI scripts, interactive services based on Ajax or a conventional application software remotely accessed through a VNC Java applet.

In client-side simulation, the simulation program is downloaded from the server side but completely executed on the client side, for example using Java applets, Flash animations, JavaScript, or some mathematical software viewer plug-in. Server-side simulation is not scalable for many simultaneous users, but places fewer demands on the user computer performance and web-browser plug-ins than client-side simulation.

The term on-line simulation sometimes refers to server-side web-based simulation, sometimes to symbiotic simulation, i.e. a simulation that interacts in real-time with a physical system.

The upcoming cloud computing technologies can be used for new server-side simulation approaches. For instance, there are[examples needed] multi-agent simulation applications which are deployed on cloud computing instances and act independently. This allows simulations to be highly scalable.[clarification needed]

Existing tools

  • AgentSheets - graphically programmed tool for creating web-based The Sims-like simulation games, and for teaching beginner students programming.
  • AnyLogic - a graphically programmed tool that generates Java code for discrete event simulation, system dynamics and agent-based models
  • Easy Java Simulations - tool for modelling and visualization of physical phenomenons, that automatically generates Java code from mathematical expressions.
  • ExploreLearning Gizmos - a large library of interactive online simulations for math and science education in grades 3-12.
  • GNU Octave web interfaces - MATLAB compatible open-source software
  • Google Chart API - for the generation of embedded charts in web pages
  • List of online spreadsheets
  • Nanohub - web 2.0 in-browser interactive simulation of nanotechnology
  • NetLogo - a multi-agent programming language and integrated modeling environment that runs on the Java Virtual Machine.
  • OpenPlaG - PHP based function graph plotter for the use on websites
  • OpenEpi - web-based packet of tools for biostatistics.
  • Recursive Porous Agent Simulation Toolkit (Repast) - agent-based modeling and simulation toolkit implemented in Java and many other languages.
  • SAGE - open source numerical analysis software with web-interface, based on the Python programming language.
  • Simulation123 - a tool supporting web-based simulation documentation, a category of web-based simulation [1]
  • Social simulation - review of computational sociology and agent based systems.
  • StarLogo - agent-based simulation language written in Java.
  • VisSim viewer - graphically programmed data flow diagrams for simulation of dynamical systems
  • webMathematica and Mathematica Player - a computer algebra system and programming language.
  • MapleNet - Online math API and computer algebra system

See also

  • Simulated reality - overview of philosophical arguments related to simulated reality.


  1. ^ a b Byrne, James; Heavey, Cathal; Byrne, P.J. (March 2010). "A review of Web-based simulation and supporting tools". Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory (Elsevier) 18 (3): 253–276. doi:10.1016/j.simpat.2009.09.013. 
  2. ^ Page, E.; Griffen, S. P. (1998). "Providing Conceptual Framework Support for Distributed Web-Based Simulation within the Higher Level Architecture.". Proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Enabling Technologies for Simulation Science II, Orlando, Florida, USA.. 
  3. ^ Page, E.; Opper, J. M. (2000). "Investigating the Application of Web-Based Simulation Principles within the Architecture for a Next-Generation Computer Generated Forces Model.". Future Generation Computer Systems 19: 159-169.. 
  4. ^ a b Byrne, James; Heavey, Cathal; Byrne, P.J. (2006). "SIMCT: An Application of Web Based Simulation.". Proceedings of the 2006 Operational Research Society (UK) 3rd Simulation Workshop (SW06), 28-29th March, Royal Leamington Spa, UK.. http://www.orsoc.org.uk/orshop/(vhkfborwn2ka1k453pnsc4yr)/orcontent.aspx?inc=simulation2006_proceedings.htm. 
  5. ^ Guru, A.; Savory, P.; Williams, R. (2000). "A Web-based Interface for Storing and Executing Simulation Models.". Proceedings of the 2000 Winter Simulation Conference, Orlando, Florida.. 
  6. ^ Harrell, C. R.; Hicks, D. A. (1998). "Simulation Software Component Architecture for Simulation-based Enterprise Applications.". Proceedings of the 1998 Winter Simulation Conference, Washington D.C., USA.. 
  7. ^ http://speckyboy.com/2010/04/12/mobile-web-and-app-development-testing-and-emulation-tools/ Mobile Web and App Development Testing and Emulation Tools], Specky boy design magazine, April 12, 2010

External links

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