Support for model coupling: An interface-based approach
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There is an increasing need in the scientific community for the comprehensive simulation of complex, dynamic, physical systems. Often such simulations are built through model coupling, that is, the merging of existing, component models so that their concurrent simulations affect each other. Model coupling is, however, a nontrivial task that is not adequately supported by existing frameworks which often require direct manipulation of model source code. This work presents an approach to model coupling that avoids this hurdle, allowing for the fast-prototyping of coupled models. Our approach to model coupling allows the scientist to work with a novel model representation, called the Potential Coupling Interface (PCI). The PCI is an abstraction that exposes only those aspects of a model relevant to coupling, and it is the basis for specifying couplings. Specifically, this dissertation contributes the design of a new representation, the PCI, for model coupling interfaces, the design of a domain-specific language, called the Coupling Description Language, for describing the coupling of models in terms of their PCIs, and the implementation of a prototype coupling environment for Hydrological models. We conclude that the use of the PCI model interfaces makes it possible to quickly design and execute prototypes of model couplings for further experimentation and investigation. This dissertation research aims to influence the way in which model coupling is practiced in the scientific community.