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Discrete event-driven simulations of digital communication networks have been used widely. However, it is difficult to use a network simulator to simulate a hybrid system in which some objects are not discrete event-driven but are continuous time-driven. A networked control system (NCS) is such an application, in which physical process dynamics are continuous by nature. We have designed and implemented a hybrid simulation environment which effectively integrates models of continuous-time plant processes and discrete-event communication networks by extending the open source network simulator NS-2. To do this a synchronisation mechanism was developed to connect a continuous plant simulation with a discrete network simulation. Furthermore, for evaluating co-design approaches in an NCS environment, a piggybacking method was adopted to allow the control period to be adjusted during simulations. The effectiveness of the technique is demonstrated through case studies which simulate a networked control scenario in which the communication and control system properties are defined explicitly.
Date of Conference: 21-23 Sept. 2009