CIF 3

Automatic input mode

In the automatic input mode, the simulator automatically chooses transitions as well time transition durations. How the simulator chooses however, can be influenced using options. These options are explained below. The final section of this page explains the limitations of using these options.

Automatic mode choice algorithm option

In the automatic input mode, the simulator automatically chooses the transitions to take, without any user interaction. The choice that is made can however be influenced using the Automatic mode choice algorithm option (Input category). The following choices are available:

  • First transition.
  • Last transition.
  • Random transition (random seed).
  • Random transition (specific seed).

The options to choose the first or last transition do exactly what they state, i.e. they choose the first respectively the last transition from the list of possible transitions. Note that event transitions are always listed before time transitions, but event transitions can only be listed together with time transitions if environment events are present. Also note that if transitions for the tau event are present, they are listed after the transitions for all other events.

The other two options randomly choose a transition from the possible transitions. If a random seed (for the random number generator) is used, each simulation will potentially choose a different trace. In this case, the seed that is used, is printed to the console at the start of the simulation. If a specific seed is used, then the choices are still random, but can be reproduced. Each simulation, using random automatic input mode, with the same seed, for the same specification, should lead to the same trace. Seeds are integer numbers from the range [0 .. 230].

Automatic mode time transition duration option

In the automatic input mode, the simulator automatically chooses the durations of the time transitions, without any user interaction. The choice that is made can however be influenced using the Automatic mode time transition duration option (Input category). The following choices are available:

  • Maximum allowed duration.
  • Random duration (random seed).
  • Random duration (specific seed).

The option to choose the maximum allowed duration does exactly what it states, i.e. it chooses the maximum allowed duration for each time transition, until the next potential state event.

The other two options randomly choose a duration for the time transitions. For both options, a uniform random distribution is used, which is sampled to obtain the time at which time transitions are to be ‘interrupted’ or ‘cut off’. The upper bound (exclusive) of the uniform random distribution is to be provided by the user. You can think of these random options as adding an extra automaton to the specification, that could look as follows:

automaton auto_time_trans_duration:
  const real UPPER = ...;
  disc dist real d = uniform(0.0, UPPER);
  disc real timeToWait;
  cont t der 1.0;

  location sampling:
    initial;
    edge do (timeToWait, d) := sample d goto waiting;

  location waiting:
    edge when t >= timeToWait do t := 0.0 goto sampling;
end

The upper bound of the uniform real distribution (UPPER > 0), is provided by the user. A sample is taken from the distribution, indicating the time to wait before the time transition is to be interrupted. Once that much time has elapsed, a new sample is taken, and the process repeats itself. The actual implementation is slightly different, in that no actual automaton is added, no additional tau transitions result from using this option, and no zero length time transitions are chosen. However, the effect is very similar.

So, say the user wants to use a uniform distribution over interval [0 .. 10). The simulator takes a sample, say 3.0. Assume we then get a time transition for at most 0.5 time units. We take that entire transition and are left with 2.5 remaining time units (3.0 - 0.5). If we then get another time transition for at most 1.2 time units, we take that one entirely as well. We are left with 1.3 (2.5 - 1.2) time units. If we would then get a time transition for at most 5.0 time units, the automatic input component ensures that we instead get a time transition for at most 1.3 time units, instead of one for at most 5.0 time units. Since we choose to interrupt after 1.3 time units anyway, there is no reason to compute the remainder of the time transition after those 1.3 time units. We choose the entire time transition of 1.3 time units, and compute a new sample. The simulator then once again calculates new transitions, and the process repeats. The next time transition that is calculated will be for the remaining 3.7 (5.0 - 1.3) time units, unless it is interrupted again before that time, i.e. if the new sample is smaller than 3.7.

If a random seed (for the random number generator) is used, each simulation will potentially choose a different trace. In this case, the seed that is used, is printed to the console at the start of the simulation. If a specific seed is used, then the choices are still random, but can be reproduced. Each simulation, using random automatic time transition duration, with the same seed, for the same specification, should lead to the same trace. Seeds are integer numbers from the range [0 .. 230].

The random durations are particularly useful in combination with environment events, as it allows the environment events to be chosen at the time the time transition is interrupted. That is, it allows the environment events to occur at random times. Using this option, the user can specify the distribution used for ‘cutting up’ the time transitions, and thus the possible moments when environment events can potentially take place. This is in addition to the state events, at which the environment events can also be chosen. These new additional possibilities however, are not influenced by the occurrence rate of the events of the system, and allow more control for the user. In particular for cases where the simulation allows infinite time transitions (no state events), the infinite time transitions can then be interrupted to allow environment events to take place.

Limitations

Using the two options described above, and choosing random for each of them, introduces a certain degree of randomness to the trace that the simulator will explore. This randomness however, is rather limited. For one, the distributions that are used are mostly fixed, as the options don’t allow using for instance an exponential distribution. Furthermore, there is no way to specify the distribution for events individually, and it is not possible to specify the distribution between event transitions and time transitions. Concretely, the options for instance don’t enforce that environment events get chosen. They may be chosen when the time transitions are interrupted, or at state events, but that is not guaranteed, as the simulator may choose the time transition again, after the interruption.

The options provide a lightweight, quick, and easy to use approach to adding some randomness. If more control is needed, the environment can instead be modeled explicitly in the CIF model, thus defining when the environment events may or will occur. One way to accomplish this, is by adding a use case.

Undo/reset

The automatic input mode does not support undo and reset.