Lightweight Three-Dimensional Visualization For Hybrid Systems Simulation

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Halmstad Embedded and Intelligent Systems Research (EIS)

Author: Yingfu Zeng; [2012]

Keywords: 3D Visualization; Simulation; Acumen;


Simulation plays a key role in the computer-aided design of systems, primarily because it helps in catching design bugs at an early stage and in quickly ruling out many unreasonable options in the design space. There is a wealth of tools and languages that have been proposed over the years for the design and verification of hybrid systems and most of them provide 3D visualization utility for facilitating design process. However, their visualization systems often rely on some external configuration files written in naive 3D APIs like VRML or Java3D and complicated connections have to be established between the simulation data and the visualization. Numerous efforts have to be invested in visualization related modeling and certain level of understanding of the low level 3D libraries are needed. Thus it is not an easy job for non-professions to build a 3D visualization. In this thesis we explore the idea that in a hybrid system model, almost all the information need for visualization is already in place. This means that very few annotation should be enough to fully specify a useful 3D visualization. Based on this idea, we propose a lightweight 3D visualization framework which allows the user to expresses the three-dimensional object in a high level and abstract way and to take advantage of the data already in the simulation. We evaluate our approaching by building a prototype extension of modeling language called Acumen. The result of this thesis work is included in Acumen's official release version that can be download at To build a 3D visualization in Acumen, only very few annotations need to be added to the simulation model and are included inside one reserved variable. Non-professions like students who are studying Cyber-physical systems can easily use this tool to visualize their models in Acumen without any prerequisite knowledge regarding 3D visualization technology. We also developed a number of benchmarks to test the correctness and functionality of Acumen3D. Besides, as a lager case study into the expressivity of Acumen and its visualizaiton efficiency, we developed a simplified model of a Ping Pong game. We gained experience about how to model complex hybrid system in Acumen. Moreover by comparing modeling such a hybrid system in Java3D and in Acumen3D, we find concrete evidence that modelling it in Acumen3D is easier in that of less code and less prerequisite knowledge and more supporting built in functions. 

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