Graphical Programming of Simulation Models in an Object-Oriented Environment
Graphical programming has been used in conjunction with conventional simulation languages via block diagrams or activity networks. Its beneficial effects on programming and modeling in simulation have been accepted by everyone involved in these languages. However, none of these conventional techniques is truely interactive. Given the level of the current hardware and software technology, it is possible to design a very good graphical programming system which supports an interactive incremental programming style in specifications of simulation models. The benefit of such a visual system would go beyond the modeling phase of a simulation study and it might as well be realized in understanding the behavior of complex problems, in being a communication and training medium for the user and developers, and finally in presenting the simulation results. In this study, the graphical programming methodology has been investigated from the perspective of object-oriented simulation. The truely interactive and graphical orientation of some of the object-oriented languages (e.g., Smalltalk-80) has opened up new avenues of research in this very important topic. Today, the nature of this type of research will be not whether it can be done but how the known techniques should be combined to yield the highest benefit.