Ptolemy: A Framework for Simulating and Prototyping Heterogeneous Systems

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Buck, Joseph T.; Ha, Soonhoi; Lee, Edward A.; Messerschmitt, David G.
Issue Date
Ablex Publishing Corporation
International Journal of Computer Simulation, Vol. 4, pp. 155-182, August 1994
Heterogeneitymixed-modesimulationprototypingobject-oriented programming
Ptolemy is an environment for simulation and prototyping of heterogeneous systems. It uses modern
object-oriented software technology (C++) to model each subsystem in a natural and efficient
manner, and to integrate these subsystems into a whole. Ptolemy encompasses practically all
aspects of designing signal processing and communications systems, ranging from algorithms and
communication strategies, simulation, hardware and software design, parallel computing, and
generating real-time prototypes. To accommodate this breadth, Ptolemy must support a plethora
of widely-differing design styles. The core of Ptolemy is a set of object-oriented class definitions
that makes few assumptions about the system to be modeled; rather, standard interfaces are provided
for generic objects and more specialized, application-specific objects are derived from
these. A basic abstraction in Ptolemy is the Domain, which realizes a computational model appropriate
for a particular type of subsystem. Current examples of domains include synchronous and
dynamic dataflow, discrete-event, and others appropriate for control software and embedded
microcontrollers. Domains can be mixed as appropriate to realize an overall system simulation.
Some current applications of Ptolemy include networking and transport, call-processing and signaling
software, embedded microcontrollers, signal processing (including implementation in realtime
real-time), scheduling of parallel digital signal processors, board-level hardware timing simulation,
and combinations of these.
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