Simulation models of agro-ecological systems are typically written in a manner that precludes reusability of parts of the model without a significant amount of familiarity with and rewriting of existing code. Similarly, replacing a part of a model with a functionally equivalent part from another model is typically difficult. The objective of this study was to develop a method to enable the assembly of simulation models from previously and independently developed component models. Recent advances in software engineering have enabled the development of software applications from smaller parts (called components) on the basis of an abstract decomposition of the relevant domain (called a framework). Based on a requirements analysis of existing simulation models we developed the ModCom simulation framework. ModCom provides a set of interface specifications that describe components in a simulation. ModCom also provides implementations of the core simulation services. The framework interfaces use well-defined binary standards and allows developers to implement the interfaces using a broad range of computer languages. Using this framework, simulation models can be assembled by connecting component models in much the same way that Lego blocks are put together to assemble a house. ModCom thus allows modelers to create models and modeling tools that are easily exchanged (in binary form or source code) with colleagues across the hall or across the globe.
- object-oriented simulation