Online Simulation Technologies

Research and development of simulation concepts and technologies already started in the 1960'ies, using historical programming languages like Fortran and C. Today, simulation technologies more and more move to the Web. Especially for educational simulations, it is mandatory that they are accessible on the Web.

Important examples of web-based simulation tools are:

These tools differ with respect to several aspects. The following table identifies the licensing and architecture characteristics of these tools. The distinction of three architecture types ("Front-End", "Back-End" and "Hybrid") refers to the distribution of the simulation engine and the user interface. The table also shows a preliminary performance evaluation with respect to the loading aspects (i.e. data download and memory consumption) of an epidemiology model implemented in these tools.

Comparison of web-based simulation tools.
Tool Licensing Architecture Download (MB) Memory (MB)
AnyLogic Cloud Commercial Hybrid 0.68 2.80
Inside Maker Free Front-End 1.50 22.50
NetLogo Web Free Front-End 1.20 34.10
OESjs Free Front-End 0.16 2.90

One important feature to consider when running a web-based simulation model is the amount of communication resources (i.e., Download) necessary to run the model. OESjs (0.16 MB) has the smallest footprint to run a model and it does not consume any additional data communication during the simulation run. Although AnyLogic Cloud (0.68 MB) has a smaller footprint than NetLogo Web (1.2 MB) and Insight Maker (1.5 MB), AnyLogic runs the simulation remotely, which requires the simulation results to be transmitted to the client machine, thus increasing the download considerably at the end of a simulation run.