Your algorithm must never know…

The process of validating your control algorithm requires the creation of virtual realities, a reality that must be good enough to convince your controller that it is operating in the real world. How do you know if your simulation is good enough to “fool” the controller?

How do you know if you are living in a simulation?

Designing the simulated environment for your control algorithm starts by defining the operating conditions in which the program will run. You need to include all of the operating conditions that the system may encounter while excluding the unreachable domains. For example, with a wind turbine you would want to model wind gusts up to 45 mph but exclude higher rates as the turbine would be shut down for safety reasons for speeds above that.

The next question is accuracy; at one level of change in the input values is there a perceptible change in the real world effects? In some cases a 1-degree change in temperature is trivial (e.g., a combustion engine) while in others it is significant (a home heating and cooling system). Select the resolution to match the requirements.

Next up is consistency, if we go back to the temperature resolution think about the other environmental variables associated with it, e.g. pressure: PV = NRT. If the resolution on the Pressure does not match the resolution of the Temperature then there can negative impacts on the control algorithm.

Finally, update rate: how often are the simulated environment variables updated? The data associated with the simulated variables should be updated with a rate that is consistent with the behavior in the real world.

The condition

The one conditional here; if a general use simulation is being created then the design needs to take into account the operating needs of all the target systems. For the ease of testing, the cross controller development should be limited to insure the highest quality simulation and testing environment.

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