Simulink

Simulink runs with Matlab; both are products of The Math Works, Natick, MA. (Simulink is now at v3.0 (11/99); different versions of Matlab and Simulink run on PCs with Windows 95, 98, or NT4.0, or on Macs or UNIX platforms ). Simulink is an icon-driven, dynamic simulation package that allows the user to represent a nonlinear dynamic process with a block diagram. As the block diagram is built, the user has to specify numerical values for the parameters in the blocks, and, of course, the interconnections between them. Before the simulation is run, the user specifies the integration routine to be used, the stepsize, and start and stop times. A diverse selection of integration routines includes R-K 23, R-K 45, Euler, Gear, Adams, and Linsim (plain vanilla for purely linear state systems). Gear is recommended for stiff nonlinear systems. Because Simulink runs in the Matlab "shell," it can make use of all of the many features of Matlab and its various toolboxes.

Although extremely versatile for the simulation of linear analog and/or discrete systems, Simulink does not shine in the simulation of systems of nonlinear ODEs, such as found in chemical kinetics or neural modeling. Its block diagram format becomes unwieldy, and it is clear that a program such as Simnon that accepts the algebraically written ODEs directly is easier to set up for running a simulation.

The reader interested in learning more about Simulink can visit the URL: http://www.mathworks.com/products/simulink.

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