Continuous system simulation in Python

Robert Kern robert.kern at
Fri Oct 7 07:30:00 CEST 2005

Dennis Lee Bieber wrote:
> On Fri, 7 Oct 2005 01:12:22 +0200, Nicolas Pernetty
> <nicopernetty at> declaimed the following in comp.lang.python:
>>I'm aware of SimPy for discrete event simulation, but I haven't found
>>any work about continuous system.
>>I would like to develop a generic continous system simulator, and so
>>would be eager to join any open source effort on the subject.
>>For instance, it would be useful for modelling an airplane with all the
>>dynamics (flight simulator).
> 	Unless that flight simulator is running on some big ugly ANALOG
> computer (the ones that used rheostats, transformers, and amplifiers),
> they all are really using discrete time intervals and computing values
> at those time points. Such computation may require integration of
> continuous functions from previous time step to current time step.

I think Nicolas means "(discrete event) simulation" as opposed to
"discrete (event simulation)" and "(continuous system) simulation" as
opposed to "continuous (system simulation)". The methods used in SimPy
to model (discrete events) don't apply terribly well to simulating many
(continuous systems) like airplane dynamics. For example, an ODE
integrator would probably want to adaptively select its timesteps as
opposed to laying out a uniform discretization upfront.

Robert Kern
rkern at

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
 Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
  -- Richard Harter

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