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This paper develops a message-based approach to discrete-event simulation. Although message-based simulators have the same expressive power as traditional discrete-event simulation lanuages, they provide a more natural environment for simulating distributed systems. In message-based simulations, a physical system is modeled by a set of message-communicating processes. The events in the system are modeled by message-communications. The paper proposes the entity construct to represent a message-communicating process operating in simulated time. A general wait until construct is used for process scheduling and message-communication. Based on these two notions, the paper proposes a language fragment comprising a small set of primitives. The language fragment can be implemented in any general-purpose, sequential programming language to construct a message-based simulator. We give an example of a message-based simulation language, called MAY, developed by implementing the language fragment in Fortran. MAY is in the public domain and is available on request.
Date of Publication: June 1987