Group Title: Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering Technical Reports
Title: Hybrid heterogeneous hierarchical models for knowledge-based autonomous systems
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Title: Hybrid heterogeneous hierarchical models for knowledge-based autonomous systems
Series Title: Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering Technical Reports
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Language: English
Creator: Miller, Victor T.
Fishwick, Paul A.
Publisher: Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Copyright Date: 1992
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Hybrid Heterogeneous Hierarchical Models
for Knowledge-Based Autonomous Systems

Victor T. Miller
University of Florida,
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Sciences
231 Aero building
Gainesville, Florida, 32611

Paul A. Fishwick
University of Florida,
Department of Computer and Information Science
301 Bldg CSE
Gainesville, Florida, 32611


Complex High Autonomy Systems generally require the use of multiple modelling formalisms and multiple levels

of abstraction in order to accurately and efficiently describe their dynamic characteristics. It is often necessary to

integrate several modelling formalisms together if we want to reason about, simulate or analyze a system.

Moreover, the use of a hierarchical representation helps us to more intelligently organize the models during

development. We discuss a general modelling approach called Hybrid Heterogeneous Hierarchical Modelling

(HHH Modelling) which supports multiple representations and hierarchical development of Knowledge-Based

Autonomous System Simulations. In this context, we discuss methods to describe how different modelling

formalisms may interact with each other in terms of data input/output and inter-model coordination (coordination

between two different models). However, our major focus will be on intra-model coordination. Intra-model

coordination is a method by which the components of a model can be coordinated with other models. For

instance, when the state of a finite state machine is coordinated with a Petri net. The benefits of intra-model

coordination become clear when hybrid analysis methods (symbolic, numerical, and knowledge-based) are

applied to a single model.


The need to efficiently represent each level of a Knowledge-Based Autonomous System model (KAS model)

has become important for many reasons. Some modelling formalisms capture certain aspects of system behavior

better than others (developmental efficiency). Other modelling formalisms may provide the means to discern

important features that are not evident in other formalisms (conceptual efficiency). The use and benefits of

multiple models types has been investigated in theories such as multifaceted modelling [Zeig84] and

heterogeneous inter-level refinement[Fish91a]. The general concept of heterogeneous modelling which we

discuss in this paper draws upon research in multi-models, combined models, multifaceted models,

homomorphic models, and abstract models. One of the ways of advancing the field of simulation requires

improving the available modelling methods [Oren]. Heterogeneous modelling improves methods by aiding in the

development, maintenance, simulation, and conceptualization of KAS models. It does this by providing a variety

of succinct formalisms and the techniques for integrating them.

Using hierarchies to help organize models has also become a standard modelling approach. However, in addition

to developmental advantages, hierarchies can help during analysis. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of a

partial or complete model requires substantial knowledge about the model's structure. An investigator may be

interested in qualitative information in one question (i.e., "Will the two robots collide before or after main system

shutdown?") or numerical information in another (i.e., "How many seconds before main system shutdown?").

These questions require different levels of abstraction (and therefore different levels of implementation and/or

representation). Hierarchical modelling provides, by its very nature, different levels of abstraction with

corresponding representations capable of providing information appropriate for reasoning at several levels of


A growing but still under represented topic in modelling research is the ability to analyze a single model using

symbolic, numerical, and interpretative techniques. We define Symbolic techniques as mathematical analysis

which involves manipulating algebraic or differential equations. With the increased use and availability of

programs that do symbolic mathematics, it is becoming increasingly easier to automate symbolic analysis

(especially of well-known modelling formalisms). Numerical techniques refers to traditional computational

simulation methods and numerical approximation. Interpretation methods are those that are related to the field of

Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge Engineering. These range from fuzzy or quantitative simulation [Fish91b] up

to and including logic methods and semantic networks. In general, Hybrid analysis (symbolic, numeric, and

interpretative) requires different model specification strategies and processes for each type of analysis. This

duplicates a substantial amount of effort on the part of the investigator. It also makes it impossible for information

gained in one type of analysis to help or guide a technique in another type of analysis (unless the investigator

transmits "by hand" this information from one modelling formalism to the other).

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We define Hybrid Heterogeneous Hierarchical Modelling (HHH Modelling) as any model theory that supports

hierarchical development of KAS models by integrating or combining different modelling formalisms and supports

automated analysis in terms of symbolic, numeric, and interpretative techniques. We assume that such a model

theory will have practical use only when implemented on a computer. Therefore, particular attention must be

focused on a theory which is to be used effectively by an investigator in a computer environment.

A legitimate approach to HHH modelling is to develop a new modelling formalism which is oriented toward KAS

models. We believe that in order to provide insights into the complex behavior of KAS models through simulation

and reasoning methods, efficient and succinct representations must be used to describe all aspects of behavior

which are pertinent to the investigator. Furthermore, we assert that no one modelling formalism will provide such

a representation. This assertion is based upon the pragmatics of model building. Specific modelling formalisms

are used by investigators because they are convenient to use, have preferable attributes, or fulfill some pragmatic

requirement [Roth]. We clearly identify two dilemmas to investigators of KAS systems. First, since pragmatic

issues are dictated by the investigators preferences and convenience, and pragmatic issues vary within different

sections of large complex systems, a single modelling formalism locks the investigator into a method which is

neither preferable nor convenient.

The second dilemma concerns the trade-offs between convenience and generality. For example, queuing

networks may be efficient for modelling arrival/departure behavior, but not general enough for the modelling of

complex KAS models. Similarly, simulation languages such as GPSS[Schr] are general enough to be used for

almost all types of simulation, but lack the developmental efficiency, conceptual efficiency and convenience of

mathematical based modelling formalisms. Additionally, simulation languages have traditionally lacked symbolic

and interpretative analysis methods. In short, the more general a formalism becomes, the less convenient it is to


With this in mind, an HHH modelling theory which is based on coordination of existing modelling formalisms is

an attractive alternative to developing an all-encompassing, completely generalized, single formalism. Since

modelling formalisms such as queuing networks and finite state automata have proven to be powerful methods,

but limited to specific domains, a coordination of these modelling formalisms, which keeps the representational

power of each formalism intact, should foster more complete investigations of complex high autonomy systems.

Additionally, by coordinating established modelling formalisms, we reduce the learning curve needed to

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understand the theory. HHH modelling can be accomplished by letting the investigator use an appropriate

modelling formalism to describe a particular component of the system and then allowing a coordination of this

formalism with models that describe other system components. The investigator may also need to re-implement

sub-components of a particular model as new information is gained during development and analysis (perhaps

with a different modelling formalism). Efficiency and succinctness are supplied by the mathematical formalism

whereas the coordination of several formalisms increases the generality. It should be noted that our emphasis is

on the coordination between modelling formalisms rather than on new interpretative, symbolic or numerical

analysis methods.

In the next section, we briefly introduce the underlying modelling paradigm which we propose. Then, we will

present some basic assumptions and definitions which we will use throughout the rest of this paper. This involves

some minor modifications of the formalisms which allow for the coordination described in the following sections.

The modifications will not alter the behavior of the formalisms. In some cases, however, the computational power

of the formalisms may increase. General system theory (GST) will be the foundation upon which we develop a

theory for HHH modelling. GST has already been used for multi-models[Prah]. However, the GST definition does

not have sufficient structure for what we call component coordination (GST does handle model coordination

and was therefore a good starting point). Also, GST does not clearly integrate with domain independent

knowledge-base reasoning techniques. Therefore, in order to support HHH modelling, we have extended GST by

including connectivity and abstraction concepts. We call the extended theory hybrid model theory.

Hybrid model theory is a direct attempt to simultaneously embrace two themes which are directly related to HHH

modelling. First, it expands, clarifies, and establishes a solid mathematical foundation for the notion of

heterogeneous refinement as introduced in [Fish92]. In Fishwick and Zeigler's presentation, the concept of
heterogeneous refinement was described as a method which helps bridge the gap between Al and simulation

models in a formal manner. However, the refinement process was carried out "by hand." Hybrid model theory

expands the concept and provides a foundation that allows heterogeneous refinement to be automated. Second,

and most important, hybrid model theory furnishes a premise for hybrid analysis of a system represented by a

refined multi-model. The extent of hybrid model theory is currently focused on a single model. This is

complementary to theories, like general system theory which deal with classes of models.

It should be noted that hybrid model theory is a foundation which allows HHH modelling to be implemented.

There are certainly other approaches. However, with hybrid model theory, we have chosen an approach much

like compiler theory. All programming languages can be described by compiler theory, yet there are many

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different types of programming languages which suit different purposes. Our intention with hybrid model theory is

similar; We do not expect investigators to use hybrid model theory as a formalism. Hybrid model theory is used to

explain, mathematically, the commonalties and differences between modelling formalisms. We have found that

with this foundation, coordinating different formalisms such as Petri nets and block diagrams can be

substantiated since the relationship between them has been formally established.

The next section outlines the modelling paradigm which we have developed to support HHH modelling. Also, an

informal characterization of hybrid model theory is given. Section three provides some background material and

presents a few key concepts used in hybrid model theory. In section four, the benefits that HHH modelling using

hybrid model theory provide are demonstrated by the modelling of an Automated Flexible Manufacturing System

(AFMS). Traditional formalisms such as Petri nets, Markov systems, and block diagrams are used to efficiently

create a hierarchical model.


We have defined the distinction between a formalism and a theory as a difference in generality. For our

purposes, a formalism (Petri net, state machine) has relatively clear semantics pertaining to its use and dynamic

properties. We define a theory (system theory, computation theory) as a more generalized mathematical system

which usually can describe any known formalism. Because of the generality, automated interpretation is typically


We have chosen five common modelling formalisms as representatives of different modelling techniques. These

fall into two general classes: state models or functional models. State machines and Markov systems were

chosen as examples of state model formalisms. Queuing networks, Petri nets and block diagrams were chosen to

represent functional model formalisms. We preserve the diagrammatic aspects of each specific modelling

approach (i.e., places as circles and transitions as line segments in Petri nets) since these aspects are a

fundamental part of the "way we think about models"; there is no attempt to "homogenize" modelling to force all

models to look like either data flow diagrams or state transition networks. Also, we have chosen model types

which have an equivalent graph or network representation. This is necessary in hybrid model theory in order to

support knowledge-based reasoning methods (interpretation). However, we do not believe this has reduced the

effectiveness of our discussion since many modelling formalisms have graph or network equivalents.

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More specifically, we require that a formalism be represented by a directed graph. Arcs (edges) which lead out of

a node are output arcs and arcs leading into a node are input arcs. Nodes in the graph represent either

computational or storage (sub) models. As with most theories of modelling, there are two basic types of models:

atomic and complex. However, in hybrid model theory a state machine, Petri net etc. are not atomic models but

complex ones. Complex models are made up of at least two hierarchical levels. The first level is called a

controller model. As will be shown, for a variety of formalisms only three controller models are necessary. The

second level in the hierarchy is made up of atomic models called component models. This split-level approach to

models is demonstrated in Figure 1.

Controller Model Output

Component Model 1

) Component Model 2

Component Model 3

Figure 1 Two level representation of a model formalism.

As can be seen from Figure 1, data (or control) input and output are directed into the controller model. The

component models (nodes in the graph) may or may not have data input and output. Depending on the type of

controller, edges in the graph will either indicate control flow or data flow. This dual functionality has been

captured in the controller models interpretation of its components. Only under direction of the controller model is

data input and output passed down to and up from the component models. This, at first, seems very inefficient,

however; when the model is compiled for numerical analysis(simulation), this inefficiency can be be removed if

and only if there has been no sub-modelling (section four). When using interpretation techniques, this split-level

method allows for more generalized knowledge. When analyzing the model symbolically, it allows combined

results from different types of symbolic analysis.

We currently classify formalisms based upon three attributes: 1) how they use time, 2) the type of data they use,

and 3) the type of controller. There are in total four types of controllers which we are currently using: parallel,

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state, selective, and group. All four of these controllers contain the connectivity of the components they control

(the graph). A parallel controller model controls component models in which all components are active

simultaneously. Edges between the components are interpreted by the controller as data paths. Formalisms

which have this type of controller are block diagrams, queuing networks, confluence graphs, bond graphs, and

neural networks. A state controller model controls components in which only one component can be active. The

controller, under direction of the components, keeps track of the current active component. Edges between the

components are interpreted by the controller as control paths. Formalisms which have state controllers are

Markov systems and state machines. The selective controller is the most complex. This controller controls two

types of component models: functions and storage. A selective controller first determines which function

components can be activated and then non-deterministically chooses one them to activate. The function

components may use any of the storage components for data input and output. Edges between the components

are interpreted by the controller as data paths. Formalisms which use selective controllers are Petri nets and

Expert Systems (transitions and rules are the function components, places and variables are the storage

components). A group controller is a parallel controller in which the components are complex models. The group

controller allows hybrid model theory to encompass traditional model coordination (coupling).

Data Attributes
Continuous-Time Discrete-Time
Continuous-Value Discrete Value Continuous-Value Discrete Value
Parallel BlockDiagrams QueuingNetwork DigitalCircuits
Contoller Type State Deterministic StateMachine StateMachine StateMachine FiniteStateAutomata
Stochastic MarkovSystem MarkovSystem MarkovSystem MarkovSystem
Selective ExpertSystem ExpertSystem ExpertSystem PetriNet, ExpertSystem

Figure 2 Categorization of Models

The type of data which may used by a formalism has two general attributes: value and time. Both of these

attributes may be either continuous or discrete. This expands the typical continuous versus discrete concept of a

signal in system theory. A discrete signal is too ambiguous of a categorization when combining symbolic

analytical techniques and for interpretation techniques of different formalisms. It must be known whether a signal

is discrete (continuous) over its values and over time. Figure 2 shows how the data signals and controllers

combine to for a variety of different modelling formalisms. Notice that some formalisms have been used with a

variety of different types of data.

The third element which classifies a formalism is the way in which time is used. There has already been

significant advances in combined discrete-event and continuous model simulation through the use of time

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bases[Prih]. This will form the foundation for hybrid model theory. Once again however, we extend the time

description to include elements necessary for symbolic and interpretation methods. We call this extension a Time

Domain. The concept of a time base which is used in system theory becomes one of five elements used in a

time domain. The most important of which is the time map function. The time map of a time domain is a function

from the reals into the time base of the model. This allows coordination of all models with a common time base.

Each model is responsible for mapping the common clock into local time. This concept, along with local model

states, allows hybrid model theory to be easily translated into a distributed simulation when numerical analysis is

required. Thus, there is no main event-queue during numerical analysis. All events are stored locally in a model.

The other elements of a time domain relate information concerning the semantics of the time base. Currently, we

are using three elements: a zero point, a delta time, and a magnitude function. The zero point signifies the

minimum time required for a model to change an output signal given a change in the internal state. The delta time

signifies the minimum time required for a model to change its internal state. The magnitude function maps a time

from the time base into the integers. This function permits a model to specify significant magnitude changes in


The formal theory and a few examples of the above concepts are presented in the following sections. However,

with these concepts briefly outlined we can now introduce an overview of how different models can be

coordinated in an inter-model and intra-model fashion.

Figure 3 Inter-model Coordination

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Inter-model coordination is another term for model coupling [Zieg84, Wym]. Because hybrid model theory has
incorporated system theory(next section), this type of coordination will not be extensively explained. Model

coupling can be found in most system theory literature. From Figure 1, it should be clear that complex models of

varying types can be coordinated through their data input and output. A collection of these models can then be

grouped into a new model (see Figure 3).

An important advantage in hybrid model theory, is that the inter-model coordination (coupling) need not be static.

That is, during execution or analysis, since the controller model contains the connectivity along with the

functionality, the couplings can be dynamic; The controller can manipulate the connectivity of its components. We

have not included in this paper any modelling types which implement this; However, it becomes useful in certain

types of neural network formalisms. For instance, as weights between neurons become zero.

Intra-model coordination involves the replacement of a component model with a new complex model. This is
quite different from inter-model coordination where, for instance, the output of a state machine is the input to a

block diagram. In intra-model coordination, for example, a state component in a state machine controller model is

replaced by a block diagram model [Fish92]. The controller model of a state machine essentially keeps track of

several component models. Whether these components are simple state models which are based on conditions

(input = 'a' etc.) or complex models like block diagrams is inconsequential to the controller. The only requirement

is that the communication between the controller and its components be standardized in a formal protocol. The

same type of argument holds true for parallel, group and selective controllers. In section four, we present the

theoretical details of controller-component intra-model coordination and section five exemplifies how intra-model

coordination can be useful in the development and analysis of KAS models.


3.1 Automated Flexible Manufacturing System (AFMS)

For exemplary purposes, in section four and five we will model a part of an Automated Flexible Manufacturing

System (AFMS). Therefore, we give a brief introduction here so that the examples are clear. An AFMS is a

system consisting of several work cells and a transit system(see Figure 6). A computer system acts as the

controller for the entire system (i.e., scheduling operations, resolving conflicts). The transit system can vary from

automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) to simple conveyor systems. Each work cell is a logical unit consisting of a set

of machines or robots. Within a work cell many different types of operations may occur; for example, milling,

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drilling, pressing, or assembly. Machines and robots operate on parts (these may simply be raw materials).

Parts are collected in trays called palettes.

Materials Storage

SMachining Assembly
Work Cell Work Cell

SLoad / Unload docks

Figure 6 AFMS Floor diagram

The general sequence of events in the AFMS entails transporting palettes to a work cell, performing specific

operations, and then transporting the palettes back to a storage area. The complexity is associated with the

control of this system. This involves scheduling operations, allocating machine and transport resources,

buffering intermediate palettes and final assemblies, and decisions as to when parts are to be manufactured to

meet current or projected demands. Since most of the decisions are handled by a computer, and the work cells

and transit system are automated, this system has a high degree of autonomy. Figure 7 shows a conceptual

diagram of the operations in an AFMS.

I storage n materials n

unload Lo
load transfer pick-up
AGV dock n4 conveyor robot cell
1n4 1- n61
unload transfer return

Figure 7 Abstract Model of AFMS

3.2 System Theory

There are several different ways each formalism used in this research can be represented. This produces a

permutation of possible mapping techniques from formalism to formalism. General system theory will be used as

a starting point towards developing a common representation for the formalisms which we have chosen. This

section introduces the mathematical foundation of general system theory for background purposes; a more

complete presentation can be found in[Wym]. A System is a 6-tuple Z = (T, I, S, A, B, 6), where

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T is the time base,
I is a non empty set called the input,
S is a non empty set called the system states,
A is an admissible set of input functions f: T -> I,
B is a set of functions f: S -> S called the Behavior, and
8 is a function f: A x T -> B called the transition function.

The time base T, is typically the reals (91) or the integers (3). When T= 9, the system is said to be a continuous
system. When T= 3,the system is said to be a discrete system. If we consider the system to be like a function,
then the input set (A) along with a time (t) is essentially the domain. The set of system states (S) varies greatly

from formalism to formalism; however, it usually has the structure of an n-tuple or vector. For instance, the states
of a state machine are usually represented by a simple set and the states of a continuous system are typically
represented by a vector space on a field (such as 9n).

The admissible input functions represent the class of input schedules or input histories. Given a time segment t
e T, a function in A gives the input presented to the system. This indicates that the inputs to the system must be

predetermined in order to define the system. The behavior functions B, define the class of system sequences
(discrete systems) or trajectories (continuous systems). The transition function generates a behavior function for a
given input function and a time segment. Given an input function, initial conditions, and a transition function, the

behavior of the system is completely deterministic. One can extend a system structure to include output by
adding the following definitions,

0 is a non empty set called the output and
X is a function f: S x T-> 0 called the output function.

3.3 Time Domains

The standard system theory notion of a time base will be used to specify the range of time values used by
models in hybrid model theory. A time base is structure consisting of a set and two operators: addition and

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comparison. The addition operator and the set must be an abelian group. The comparison operator and the set
must form a linear order which is preserved under the addition operator.

Time Base
an abelian group
a linear order preserved under +

Typical time bases are the reals 91 and integers 3 with + and < defined appropriately. These time bases are
abbreviated by T7t and T3. When a model or formalism has no time base, the null time base can be used. It is
defined as Tt. The symbol t will be used to indicate null or undefined values.

Base T = {f}
Group t = identity, operator t + t = t, inverse t =t-1
Linear Order < t

A time domain is built upon a time base. During the interpretation of a model, information about how the time is is
used by the model must be present. The time domain will serve this purpose. A time domain is a named set (a
special kind of structure introduced shortly) which consists of five elements: time base, delta time, zero time,
time map, and a magnitude function. A time domain TD is structured set such that

T Time base
dt small time in T, i.e. a significant change in time
zero t E T such that everything < t is considered zero
tf time mapping 9t -> T
m[] magnitude function T -> 3 such that m[zero] = 0

The use of a time domain can be exemplified by the following two examples.

Human Time Computer Time
T= Tg T= Tg
dt = 10 millisecond dt = I picosecond
zero = 100 milliseconds zero = 1 nanosecond
to] = identity to] = identity
m[r] = integer[r/10*zero ] m[r] = integer [r/2*zero]

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Although the time base is the same, there are significant differences in how time effects human and computer

systems. The zero time stipulates what times are to be considered as instantaneous. That is, in times < zero the
system can not react to input. Note this is different from the delta time dt. The delta time indicates what times are
significant in changes in state. For instance, we assume that a human can sense things in 10 milliseconds but

can not react until 100 milliseconds. Likewise in a picosecond, changes in transistors are important, but a cpu
reacts only in nanoseconds (i.e. memory accesses).

The time mapping is used to relate all time domains to T g. This will be further discussed in section five. The
magnitude function is used to signify a constant state between systems. For example, for a time period of 0.9
seconds, the human magnitude function m[0.9] = 0 while the computer magnitude function m[0.9] = 450x106. For

all practical purposes, in a time period of 0.9 seconds, a computer systems can assume a human system is
constant. The magnitude comparison can be used to circumscribe the system when any of the three types of
analysis (symbolic, numerical, interpretation) are required.

3.4 Named Sets

In systems theory, a convenient representation of "assignment" is represented by a structured set [Zeig76,
Zeig84]. In this paper, we simply call these sets named. Formally, a named set is a structure with

S a set (entities)
V ordered set (parameters)
R indexed set (V is index) R is the range

A assignment A: S -> -i Rvi

A useful accessing function called a projection allows the values of parameters to be obtained from the named
set. It is defined from the entities into the range of a value set Vi. Formally, a projection is defined as

proj ;S ->Rv

As an example consider the assignment of a persons age and sex. We can create a named structure by defining
the following

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S = {Tom, Jane}
V = {age, sex}
R = {(age, [0, 130]), (sex,{male, female}))
A = {(Tom, (23, male)), (Jane,(21, female))}

A projection function on the age parameter and an application of the function is given by

projage = {(tom, 23), (Jane, 21)}
projage[Tom] = 23

The projection function will be abbreviated in this paper with the dot notation similar to typical programming

Tom.age = 23 represents projage[Tom] = 23

The conceptual and pragmatic convenience of named sets is the basis of building a fact-base for a knowledge-

base system in hybrid model theory. For example, if we consider the projection function as a predicate, then the
Prolog style predicate sex[Tom, male]and the projection function = male can be considered equivalent.
When reviewing example models which used graphical formalisms, we found that labeling arcs and nodes with

text was always carried out. This is extremely valuable to humans during the development of a model. There was
also a tendency to be fairly consistent with the usage of verbs and nouns on arcs and nodes. Since the
interpretation of nodes and arcs in these formalisms is relatively straight forward (i.e. arcs and nodes have

relatively well defined semantics in each of the formalisms), we have included the text as part of hybrid model
theory by using Named Sets. This will be further explored in the fifth section.


Hybrid model theory is a combination of general system theory (GST), named sets, and graph theory. The

combination of GST and Named sets has been successfully used in Multifacetted Modelling[Zeig] and derivations
thereof. In a sense, one could argue that hybrid model theory is a derivation of GST. Mathematically, this may be
correct. However, there are significant differences of which those familiar with GST should be aware. These

differences arose from the requirements needed for HHH modelling .

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First, hybrid model theory is not to be used by the investigator. It is not a modelling formalism. It is an intermediate

form between more efficient and effective formalisms such as Petri nets, queuing networks, and block diagrams.

Second, hybrid model theory emphasizes a top-down approach to constructing a model (Although building

bottom-up is possible). The idea behind hybrid model theory is take a model which is partially correct in describing

a system's behavior and refine only those components which do not coincide with observed data or system

specifications. Third, hybrid model theory currently focuses on the analysis of a single system under

development. HHH modelling and hybrid model theory are meant to provide the foundation for an computer

environment which allows for the creation and investigation of system models, not the classification,

identification, comparison and retrieval of already constructed and understood system models. Hybrid model

theory deals with the alteration and investigation of incomplete or incorrect models.

With this in mind, we introduce the definition of a model in hybrid model theory[Mill93]. This is, a model M is a

named set such that M =

H :Component
A: Edge
X : Input S: Output
0 : State <...>
T : Time Domain <(T,+,<), zero, delta, map(, magnitude()>
p: Initialize function T -> 0, A
8: Transition function T -> 0
S: Memory Function T -> A
S: Output Function T -> Y.

The symbols <> indicate the use of named sets, and elements in these sets can be accessed as described in the

previous section. The Component set (H) of a model always has the special symbol self as a member. For atomic

models the self symbol is the only member of the component set. In complex models, the component set contains

the models which are supervised by the controller model. The Edge set (A) of an atomic model is empty. In

complex models, the connectivity between component models is identified with the Edge set. An edge a e A is a

named set of the form , where to and from are models in the component set (H) and type is

either t(undefined) a standard data type (9S, 3) or a model. Together, the components and edges describe the

graph of the model and either what type of data is passed between the components or how control is transferred

among the components.

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In the second section we mentioned that inter-model coordination (coupling) can be represented in hybrid model

theory. From the definition above, it can be seen that a complex model, which has components that are also

complex models, represents inter-model coordination. The root model is a group controller model. It controls the

parallel operation of complexmodels. In intra-model coordination, a complex model coordinates atomic models.

The distinction between inter- and intra- model coordination appears to be just conceptual; however, the complex

models that coordinate the atomic models (state, parallel, and selective controllers) have a very different form and

semantics from the group controller that coordinates a set of complex models. By generalizing formalisms

(models) into these four types of controllers we can support the goals of HHH modelling.

The Input (X) and output (P) also have the form . These sets signify the data or control

information used by different types of models. For models in which the input has not yet been specified, the from

model will be equal to t(undefined). The same definition also applies for a models output. The state (0) named

set is used for a variety of purposes. It is very similar to local memory in computational definitions. It can contain

any other type of named set (including a model).

The Time Domain of a model was discussed in the last section. We only note here that the time domain of a

model can be null. However, it is intended that models which do not have the notion of time in the "clock" sense

include notions of time in the computational sense. That is, if a model is not measured in seconds, but has a

definite sequence of computation, then the model should use an integer time domain. Each integer X+1

represents the "next" computational step.

The last four elements of a model are functions. Typically, these are used to compute the new state and output

trajectories over a time interval. Hybrid model theory is more centered around simulation concepts. We assume

that all functions use two times: the current time (a global variable) and an input time (given at function

invocation). These times are used to calculate the state (output) at the input time. Trajectories are created by

symbolic methods which take a model as input or through numerical techniques. Additionally, we would like to

emphasize that these functions are declared, not pre-compiled. When numerical analysis(simulation) is needed,

the declarative model can be compiled and optimize (unless an interpretative language like LISP or an object-

oriented language is used or perhaps both together).

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The initialization function (P) is necessary since models can be dynamic. At any time during analysis, a model can

be "asked" to become active. This not only allows for the modelling of systems which may lay dormant, but more

importantly, it models systems which have multiple descriptions over time. A piece-wise continuous system is an

example of a primitive multi-description system. In this paper, the state oriented formalisms implement the "piece-

wise" concept. For data flow parallel models (differential equation models), the initialization function sets the

initial conditions.

The transition (6) and memory (i) functions are intended to be used when a model is active. Although as can be

seen from their description, they could be used to initialize a model. The initialization and memory functions were

derived so that the concept of state, transition, and initialization could be separated. Again, this is necessary in

symbolic and interpretation methods. For the same reason (and tradition), the output function (X) is also kept

separate from the other functions. One of the optimizations for numerical analysis is the integration of these

functions so that only one call to the model produces the "total" behavior. This integration is possible in hybrid

model theory because there are only four controller models and each has the same "form" of memory, transition,

and output functions.

Controller Model
Super-model *

Component Models I Controller Model

I- I Component Models

Figure 8 Depiction of intra-model coordination

Before we clarify this last point, we would like to state two rules which capture the manner in which atomic

components of a complex model can be coordinated with other models (Intra-model coordination). This is a

pseudo-formal definition of intra-model coordination in hybrid model theory. They are depicted in Figure 8. They

can be stated as

1. A component(node) in a model can have its operation's output delayed and input altered by

another model called the sub-model. The component model, when activated, initializes the sub-

model and waits for a signal of completion which then deactivates the sub-model

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2. A component(node) in a model can have it's operation replaced by another model, however, the

I/O and control of the sub-model must be the same, the model is continuous over the analysis. The

sub-model also delays the operation.

The types of controllers which interact with each other dictate which of these rules applies when sub-modelling.

From this point on, we will use the term sub-modelling for intra-model coordination and coupling for inter-

modelling coordination. The higher level model in sub-modelling is called a super-model. Like most model

formalisms, the arrows in Figure 8 signify control and/or data flow between model types. The rule which applies

depends only on the super-model involved. For instance, if the super-model is a state controller, rule 1 above

applies; for a parallel super-model only rule 2 applies; and for a selection super-model rule 2 applies for memory

components and rule 1 applies for function components.

Selective Controller Type: Petri Net Palette
Q =
Input =
Output =

Part 1 Part2 Part3

Unload Unload Unload

Assemble All Parts

Figure 9 Petri net model of a palette

To clarify this, we will model a palette in an AFMS using a Petri net. Because a Petri net uses a selection

controller, both rules above can be exemplified. Figure 9 shows a diagram of the super-model. We are modelling

a palette that has 3 parts of 3 types (nine parts in all). A final assembly is to be made from each type of part. The

palette will therefore have 3 final assemblies at the end. The Petri net model was chosen because of the

geometric constraints of the parts in the palette. A robot must receive the parts in a predetermined order and the

parts can only be removed in a specific order because of the geometry of the parts and palette. As shown in the

figure the events are: unload part 1, unload part 2, unload part 3, and assemble parts.

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Figure 10 State machine of the assemble transition

Upon reflection, or perhaps analysis, lets suppose that this model is deemed to be too simple. The fault is

identified by the assemble transition; The entire assembling procedure must also be modelled. However, the

assembly procedure is a complex sequence of states (in a Petri net). No doubt we could imitate this behavior by

expanding the Petri net (also we would need a stochastic Petri net as will be shown). Instead, sub-modelling will

allow us to coordinate a state model with the assemble transition. Figure 10 is the state machine which models

the assembly procedure. In a state machine model, the sequence of states is very simple. The first two parts are

assembled, the tolerance is checked, the assembly is fixed if the tolerance is bad, and the final assembly is


In the Petri net model, the assemble transition can now be coordinated with the state machine. Since transitions

are the function components in selective model controllers, rule 1 above applies to the assemble transition. When

the assemble transition is able to fire and is chosen to fire by the controller, the controller activates the assemble

transition model. If the transition was not sub-modelled, an output token would be placed in the robot available

and assembled Product places. However, because the assemble transition is sub-modelled, the state machine

will be used to preempt the operation of the transition. The state machine is initialized and the token is presented

as input to state machine just as if it was the transition. The definition of the state machine model controller's

input and output must match the assemble transition model input and output. When the state machine produces

the tokens as output, they are "passed" up to the assemble transition which then puts them into the appropriate

places. In this example, the only state in the state machine model which outputs tokens is the stop state (defined

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State Controller Type: State machine Assemble
Q =
Input =
Output =
Init Function: Tolerance = Random(Good,Bad, 0.05)

Assemble 1&2
Start Tolerance= Bad

Tolerance= Good Fx
Tolerance= Bad

Tolerance= Good

Assemble 3 / Stop

by the state model's output function). Because there is no output from any other state, the controller's output will

be undefined (t) until the stop state is entered. Thus, the assemble transition will hold up the Petri net controller

until the state machine produces the tokens. If we specify that the state machine model be timed relative to its

super-model, then the time spent in the assemble transition is also modelled by the state machine.

Before we proceed there is a special point which should made. As shown in Figure 11, the state component

models input and output, by default, must include the input and output of the state machine controller model. In

the next section, an example is given to show why. This is a semantic requirement imposed by hybrid model

theory. There are several of these semantic requirements [Mill93] which not only make coordination possible, but

allow for symbolic and interpretation analysis. However, all of the requirements can easily be checked

automatically by a HHH model compiler. In fact, in our current implementation, the program sets up the input and

output between models automatically during model construction and the investigator can not change it to be


Assemble 1 & 2 Type: State
Q = <>
Input =
Output =
Transition Function:
if (Tolerance=Bad) then currentState=Fix
if (Tolerance=Good) then currentState=Assemble 3

Figure 11 Assemble 1 & 2 State component Model

Rule type 2 can be exemplified by sub-modelling a place in the Petri net. For example, the place which signifies

the the robot becoming available is essentially modelling an event (signified by the use of a verb phrase as

opposed to a noun phrase which indicates resource allocation). This can be used to trigger the operations of

another model (coupling) or activate a new model (sub-modelling) which causes a delay in the token becoming

available for the "unload part 1" transition. If we sub-model this, the token will be pasted down to the sub-model

when the place receives a new token. The sub-model will not be activated because places are always active in a

Petri net. The operation of the robot available place, supplying tokens to transitions, is replaced by the new sub-

model. However, this functional change is invisible to the Petri net controller model. Analytical properties such as

reachablility trees can still be derived from the palette Petri net model. Likewise, regular expression methods can

be applied to the state machine controller model.

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In this example the state machine sub-model did not alter the token presented to it. Ideally, a token can be any

kind of object. The Petri net controller does not need to "know" the type of the token passed between transitions

and places. It is possible to have different types of tokens which the sub-models can alter or examine. This type of

model is similar to a colored Petri net (in concept not in theory). If we had modelled the palette with a single

formalism we would have needed to use colored stochastic Petri nets (stochastic because of the tolerance

variable). As will be shown in the next section we also would like to use block diagrams to model the demand and

supply of assemblies. In this case we could not, in any reasonable manner, have modelled differential equations

with Petri nets (Even thought theoretically colored stochastic Petri nets are equivalent to Turing machines). This

points out the advantages of heterogeneous hierarchical modelling; using multiple models allows for simple and

efficient models and the hierarchy allows these models to be easily coordinated.

The form of transition, output, and memory functions of controllers are all very similar. Because of this, we can

generalize the interpretation of models and optimize during numerical analysis. The mathematical presentation of

these functions can be found in [Mill93]. For exemplary purposes we have converted the transition function of a

parallel controller into pseudo-code:

While continue[input_time, O.current_time]
For Each ca A
a. 6[ [.current_time]]
end While
return 0

The program shows that a parallel controller loops twice. The outer loop controls the time while the inner loop

calls each component model's transition function. The function "[O.current_time]" maps the super-models

time base into the sub-model time bases. The memory and output functions of the parallel controller are the same

except the components memory and output functions (cx.[] and (a.X[]) are called instead of the a.6[] function. It

can be seen that, for instance, block diagrams and queuing networks both use this type of controller transition

function. When a model is compiled for numerical analysis, the transition, memory, and output functions can all

be combined into a single function call. However, during interpretation it is necessary to keep these functions

separate. This makes it easy to ascertain specific information. The selective and state controller models also have

well-defined transition, memory, and output functions. These are also presented in [Mill93].

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The following discussion is based on the process an investigator might go through in an attempt to model an

Automated Flexible Manufacturing System (AFMS). This scenario will demonstrate how an investigator can

select formalisms to suit the pragmatic issues at hand. Section 5.1 demonstrates how heterogeneous hierarchical

modelling methods can aid in building models with developmental and conceptual efficiency. In section 5.2, we

discuss how all three methods of analyzation can be performed on the model constructed in section 5.1.

5.1 Heterogeneous Hierarchical Modelling

The current emphasis in industry today on Total Quality Management (TQM) and Design for Manufacturing has

re-emphasized the need to model very large diverse systems. Instead of modelling a factory floor for instance, the

emphasis on TQM, requires the model of a AFMS to include economics, consumer demand, product distribution,

etc. With this in mind, we begin by modelling the context of the AFMS. The palette model in the previous section

is assumed to be part the model in this section. Figure 12 demonstrates a simple, initial model of the highest

level of abstraction. There are three main interacting subsystems: a producer, a consumer, and a pricer. The

initial goal of the investigator will be to minimize the size of the storage while still meeting consumer demand.

Although not explicitly shown, the time domain for this model has significant measures of time in terms of days.

The Pricer function includes modelling marketing policies decisions such as trade promotions. The Consumer

function includes modelling behavior such as brand loyalty. Our main emphasis however will be on the Producer


The Producer function uses the current size of the storage as the main indicator of the production rate (dP/dt).

Because consumer demand (dD/dt) can fluctuate, the system usually buffers a certain number of units of the

product. We will model the allowable size of the storage buffer with a minimum and a maximum size (Min, Max).

The time domain for this model also has significant measures of time in terms of days. In order make maximum

use of resources, there will be three different states of the Producer function depending on the state of the

storage. In Figure 13, the Factory is modelled as a state machine. The three state indicate whether current

production is below, above, or within the specified buffer limits. The two names Producer and Factory actually

refer to the same functional model and can usually be used interchangeably. In hybrid model theory, recall that

the Producer is the name of component model and the Factory is the name of the sub-model. This allows the

investigator to name a functional model depending on the context in which it is being referred.

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State = ce
Input =
Output =


Vr Pricer Price
R. Qianaeze

dD/dt =-


Figure 12 Block diagram of a Product Price

Size State Controller Type: State Machine Factory dP/dt
State =
Input =
Output =

Slze < Mmin
SO OverTime

Size >= Mm


Size <= Max

Size > Max

Figure 13 State machine of Factory (Producer)

In each state of the Factory, the number of machines and people allocated may or may not vary (Hopefully,

analysis will determine this). In the Shutdown state the production rate (dP/dt) is assigned zero (Output function at

any time t equals 0.0, Shutdown.X[t] = <0.0>). The production rate in the OverTime state is left undefined

(OverTime.X[t] = f). In the Normal state, the production rate will equal the rate of demand set by initial marketing

studies. It is decided that two robot assemblers are needed to meet this demand.

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Parallel Controller Type: Block Diagram

Product Price

An important influence on the robots ability to meet this demand is the down time of each robot. The Normal state,

therefore, is a combination of four states: both robots working, both robots down, and 2 states with one robot

down. An effective way to model this is with a Markov system. Figure 14 depicts the Down Time model. Notice

that the input and output of the Markov controller model includes the input and output of the state machine. This is

required by hybrid model theory. Although the input to the Markov system is not used by the component models, it

can be "passed down" to sub-models of the individual Markov states. The time domain for this model has

significant measures of time in terms of hours.

Figure 14 Down Time Markov model of robots



Figure 15 Production Floor queuing network

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Parallel Controller Type: Queue Network Production Floor
State =
Input =
Output =

Robot 1

Palette Departure
Arrival "


Robot 2

The models of the both up, Robot 2 down, and Robot 1 down state can be effectively modelled with queuing

networks. We exemplify this by showing the both upstate in Figure 15. This is a simple 2 server First come first

serve queuing network (specifically a M/M/C/ o /FIFO system). Again notice the input and output to the queuing

network controller model, it must include the input and output of the Markov state super-model even though

queuing networks do not have external data input and output. The entities which are passed around between the

queue, servers, etc. are palettes. Recall that the palette was modelled in the last section. The time domain for this

model has significant measures of time in terms of minutes.

It is important to understand that the input and output do not alter the Production Floor queuing network. The

output (dP/dt) can only be derived from a property of the queuing network. The input (Size) can be used to derive

the output (dP/dt) or passed down to sub-models. The derivations do not interfere with the behavior of the

queuing network. The same idea holds for all the models we have constructed so far. The derivations are

coordinated with the behavior; they do not replace any behavior or alter any behavior of the formalism being


Let us assume that the model up to this point is sufficient to describe the production rate (dP/dt). Therefore, in

order to have a complete model, the output of the queuing network must be the production rate. The production

rate in this case is the departure rate of the palette. Figure 16 shows the departure component model and how the

output is supplied. The other component models in the queuing network can not supply output to the production

rate (Because dP/dt is continuous time variable in parallel model, only one component model can "write" to the

output at any time). The input to the departure is a palette model. Notice that the palette transition function

(palette.6[current_time]) is called by the departure transition function. This demonstrates inter-model coordination

Modelling (coupling). In this case the coupling is control coupling and not data coupling. Data coupling is

accomplished by the group controller shown in Figure 3.

Palette Departure Type: Depature Palette Departure
Q =
Input =
Output =
Output Function:
return rate
Transision Function:
if (palette.6[currnet_time] = assembled product
then arrivals= arrivals +1
update elapsed Time
rate = arrivals/elapsed time

Figure 16 Departure Model of palette

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If the investigator did not supply the connection between the palette departure node and the production rate

(dP/dt) of the controller model, then numerical analysis could not be performed. However, in symbolic and

interpretation analysis, the model could still be effectively used by "inventing" a symbol for the production rate.

5.2 Hybrid Analysis

The benefits of hybrid model theory and formalisms that have clear semantics and useful symbolic methods can

now be demonstrated. The process of modelling the AFMS in section 5.1 is not just a graphical interface method

for a simulation language (like TESS[Stan] is for GPSS). Although graphical interfaces provide significant

increases in efficiently it is the implicit semantics of the formalisms which when combined with hybrid model

theory allow the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts; one model is really a single representation which

allows for all three types of analysis.

The numerical analysis (model simulation) of a hierarchical model is very straight forward. Each of the formalisms

we have used has a well defined numerical method. With hybrid model theory we have formally defined the input

and output relationship between models and the manner in which each model handles time. Inter-model

coordination Modelling is handled in the same way in which coupling is handled in system theory. Intra-model

coordination Modelling is accomplished by formally describing a model with 2 levels: controller and components.

The transition, memory, and output functions specify the computation to be performed at each step for each

model. The time period is supplied as an input to the simulation. Each model's delta time is examined to

determine the minimum time slice required for the simulation. Those models whose delta times are greater than

the simulations time period are considered as static systems. A more complete treatment of numerical analysis

(simulation) can be found in [Mill93].

To perform a numerical analysis, the entire model must be checked for completeness (compiled). The compiler

requires default values for variables at the leaf models in the hierarchical model, but does not require a complete

conceptual model (by numerical values we also mean fuzzy numbers [Zad]). It would be nice if the system could

set up default initial conditions for the investigator. However, this is not the purpose of HHH modelling or hybrid

model theory. We do not wish to de-emphasize the importance and benefits of automatically setting-up the

simulation, but our current research is limited to efficiently creating heterogeneous hierarchical models and

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supporting hybrid analysis techniques. We feel that if this can be accomplished, the ability to integrate information

from symbolic, numerical, and interpretation sources will promote the automation of the more complex tasks such

as setting up simulation runs.

5.2.1 Symbolic Analysis

Many of the Symbolic analysis routines are specific to individual formalisms. There are however some simple

general routines which might be useful in very large systems. The singularity of these routines does not prevent

us from creating categories of symbolic routines. For example, if we wish to include analysis of a model's steady

state, any formalism which can potentially obtain steady state information must define a steadyState0 symbolic

analysis function. Formalisms like block diagrams, Markov systems, and queuing networks could derive the

traditional attributes associated with the notion of steady state. Formalisms like state machines and Petri nets

have no traditional notion of steady state. In the context of hybrid symbolic analysis, the routine steadyState0 for

state machines and Petri nets must still be provided. The need for this will be demonstrated in section 5.2.2.

In the AFMS model we presented in the last section, one of few numerical results from symbolic analysis which

can be obtained by a single formalism is the steady state of the Down Time. Because the Down Time model is a

regular Markov system, the steady state equilibrium probabilities of each state can be found. That is,

Lim (M)i,j = SS(si)

where SS(si) is the Steady State probability for each state i
Mij is a matrix representing the probability of going from state i to state j.

The steady state SS(si) can be represented by the creation of a vector within the system (Down Time

probabilities=[0.133, 0.2, 0.533, 0.133]). Here, the first element is the steady state probability of being in the Both

Up state, the second element is the steady state probability of being in the Robot 1 Down state, etc.

A purely symbolic result for several attributes of interest can also be obtained from the queuing network. For

example, because the network was defined as a M/M/C/o /FIFO system, the expected number of palettes in the

model is [Gra]

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Lpalette ( 2 ] PO
S(C-1)!(CP k)

C-1 -1
P [= i( C! ( ( )]P

where C = 2, the number of servers
X = the arrival rate
p = the service rate

The most interesting results of symbolic analysis result when a model is "asked" to obtain information that it
does not know and/ or model. For example, suppose we wish to find the expected number of palettes in the
Normal state of the Factory model of Figure 13 (i.e What is LNormal ?). The Normal state model can not find this
information with symbolic methods. However, because there is a sub-model, the Normal state routine calls the
sub-model symbolic routine to find the expected number of palettes. The sub-model is a Markov system. It also
can not determine the expected number of palettes with symbolic methods. But, if its components sub-models
could find this information, then the result of the Markov model would be the steady state vector SS (Down Time
probabilities) times a vector of the individual expected number of palettes for each of the four states (the dot
product). That is,

LNormal = Down Time probabilities Lpalette ,
Lpalette [ = [Sl, s2, S3, S4]


LNormal = prob[Both Up] (s 1) + prob[Robot 2 Down ](s2) + prob[Robot 1 Down] (s3) + prob[Both Down ](s4).

The individual Markov state symbolic routines are then called to derive the expected number of palettes. The
three state that were not sub-modeled (Robot 2 Down, Robot 1 down, Both Down) also can not find the expected
number of palettes. Therefore, they return a symbolic result. The queuing network sub-model can return a result
as previously shown. This symbolic result is returned to the Markov system model of the Factory. The Markov
system then returns the result to the Normal State. The final result would be

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LNormal = 0.133 (Lpaletteo) + 0.2 (Lpalettel) + 0.533 (Lpalette2) + 0.133 (Lpalette3
where Lpalettei = unknown, i= 1-3

Lpalette0 =
r (2i X) 2 P ]
+ L (-

S2 2p

where X = the arrival rate

t = the service rate

The necessity for all models to handle routines like steadyState0 and expectedNumberOf 0 is demonstrated by

this last example. Even thought a routine can not find a property, it must be able to construct a result if the

component sub-models exists or it must return a symbolic result for its super-model to use in the construction of a

result. This recursive technique is based on Intra-model coordination (sub-modelling). Additionally, the

combination of the type of data needed (continuous time; value) and model state (steady state, single point in

time, specific time period, specific condition) dictates how a modelling formalism must respond. For instance, the

expected number of palettes is a steady state attribute. Therefore, models must respond accordingly. If on the

other hand we had been interested in the production rate (dP/dt) when (Size > Min), then each model would be

required to construct the result for a continuous time, discrete value variable under the specific conditions (Size >

Min). The question would be recursively "asked" of each sub-model. Those controller models that could not

construct a result either because the component models were not sub-modelled or because the question was not

appropriate, would return a symbolic result.

For questions which resulted in unsatisfactory answers (too many "invented" symbols), numerical analysis would

be a possible next step. For example, in the Both Down state of the Markov system the production rate should be

zero since neither robot is working. We do not expect the symbolic routines to find this answer. A numerical

analysis would implicitly find this result. With a more complete model, the interpretation (next section) could

deduce such information from knowledge that the production rate (dP/dt) and palettes are numerically related

(Figure 16).

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The results of the symbolic analysis could be used to help set up the boundaries under which the the numerical

analysis operated. For example, in the above analysis of LNormal the numerical analysis (simulation) of the

model to find a refined answer (a specific distribution) would not require a simulation of the queuing network

system. This could be replaced by an appropriate distribution determined by Both Up Lpalette. Thus, it would

reduce the time necessary to obtain the computational results.

5.2.2 Interpretation

Correct interpretation depends on using a consistent set of labels on the graphs of the models. At first, this may

seem too restrictive; however, If one realizes that the model is a fact-base, then the model is really a special

derivative of a semantic net that describes the dynamics of the system under investigation. Each formalism has

several consistent naming schemes which can be compiled into a consistent fact-base. The knowledge-base is a

set of rules which are based on how controllers work and how each of the individual formalisms model semantics.

We call these formalism rules. For instance, Qualitative Reasoning methods [Bob] form part of the knowledge-

base for block diagrams.

Together with the fact-base, the knowledge-base can interpret the model. We will use a pseudo-Prolog

representation to present the interpretation process. It is assumed that the interpretation process uses a goal

directed deduction algorithm (also one which allows for truth-maintenance). However, other knowledge

representations are certainly feasible. We also assume that a natural language parser (NLP) converts questions

into the pseudo-Prolog format. With the availability of online dictionaries and thesaurus which can find plurals

from single nouns, identify parts of speech, check grammar, and provide synonyms, such a system is certainly

attainable (Also, with the availability of parser support such as LEX and YACC ). The NLP will be far from perfect,

but it would release the investigator from being required to understand the syntax of Prolog. Additionally, it is an

intricate part of a domain independent, generic knowledge-base. This will be discussed as we present the

interpretation process.

One of the simplest types of formalism semantics to demonstrate is that of a state controller. There are two

consistent labelings:

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1. All nodes are labelled with noun phrases (Figure 13)

2. All nodes are labelled with verb phrases (Figure 10)

Along with the node labels, the type of phrase which describes the sub-modelled component and/or controller

model is needed. For example, the transition assemble in Figure 9 is a verb and its sub-model is a state model

with nodes labeled with verb phrases (Figure 10). Therefore, the node labels in Figure 10 are interpreted as

being as sequence of actions which describe the action assemble in more detail. The Factory sub-model of the

Producer model (Figures 12 and 13), has a sequence of noun labels (Normal, OverTime, Shutdown) describing a

noun phrase (Producer). Here, the noun labels are interpreted as the states of the Producer. These

interpretations depend only on the types of phrases used (only 2 in our current research: noun and verb) and the

type of controllers used (only four). A cross product of these produces a finite set of interpretations for state model

nodes. A computer system could automatically build the following simple facts from the models in Figures 12 and


stateOf[Producer, Normal]; stateOf[Producer, Shutdown], stateOf[Producer, OverTime]
involves[assemble, fix ]:- tolerance = Bad; etc...

We assume that the predicates stateOf and involves are used in the generic knowledge-base rules. For example,

the following rule attempts to find the conditions necessary C (if any) to go from one state X to another state Y by

using the stateOf predicate.

nextState[M, X, Y ,C]:- stateOf [M, X], stateOf[M, Y], trace[M, X, Y, C] /* Both states in same Model */
nextState[M, X, Y, C]: -......... /* States in different Models */

As can be seen form the first rule, if both states are in the same model, the traces predicate is given the model

and the two states as input and expected to determine, depending on the type of model, the conditions necessary

to go from state X to state Y. A simple test for the trace could be to call a traceStatel predicate which follows all

paths in a state model,

traceState[M, X, Y, (C1C2)]:-
type[M, State], nextState[M, X, Z, C1], notVisited[X, Z], traceState[M, (XZ), Y, C2]
traceState[M , Y, C]:- NextState[X, Y, C]

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where the notVisitedyL predicate avoids infinite loops and "0" represents concatenation. If this failed, the trace[]

function can use methods such and constraint propagation[] and qualitative simulation[Bob] to derive an answer

(if possible) for the nextStatel. Note that the NextStatel facts can be derived directly from knowledge about

formalisms. From Figures 13 and 14, we can derive

NextState[OverTime, Normal, (Size NextState[Both up, Robot 1 down, Stochastic (0.25)].

These predicates are very primitive, but they can be used to build up more sophisticated predicates. The

nextStatel and traced predicates can be used to build up a activeStates[M, C] predicate which finds all the states

of model M that could be active under the conditions C. For instance, as can be seen in Figure 13

activeState[ Factory, (Size < Max), state?]


state = Normal, state = Shutdown.

That is, when the Size < Max in the Factory, both the Normal and Shutdown states could be active.

How each type of controller uses the notion of state and how state is related between super-models and sub-

models would obviously need more rules than we list here. But, we again emphasize that our goal is to efficiently

build models and allow these formalism rules to operate on the model with only the minimum possible effort of the

investigator. We are not trying to present research on the formalism rules. Our goal is to show that the implicit

semantics of the formalisms, applied in a hierarchical fashion, allow for quick and efficient model development by

the investigator and also provide fact-bases used in interpretation.

We can also illustrate this point with consistent labels used on the queuing network presented in Figure 15. Some

of the rules for labelling are

1. Arrival and Departure nodes use the same noun phrase

2. Servers are either all nouns or all verb phrases.

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Figure 15 shows that Palettes are the entities which arrive and depart in the queuing network. If parts were the

entities that arrive and assemblies were the entities that departed (certainly a feasible arrangement), then we

would require static information which related the two (possibly in the form of a semantic network). The static

information would stipulate, for instance, that an assembly is made of parts (madeOf[assembly, parts]).

Combining semantic nets and mathematical formalism like queuing networks in the context of HHH modelling is

discussed in [Mill92].

Simple state information can be derived from the semantics of the queues and servers labeled with nouns. A few

facts from Figure 15 are

stateOf[Palette queue, empty]:- /* a queue is either empty or it is in use *
Not (stateOf[Palette Queue, in use])
stateOf[Robot 1, idle]: /* if a server is not busy or waiting, it is idle *
Not (stateOf[Robot 1, busy], OR stateOf[Robot 1, waiting])
stateOf[M, empty]:- type[M, Queue] /* empty is a valid state of queues *
stateOf[M, in use]:- type[M, Queue] /* in use is a valid state of queues *
type[Palette queue, Queue]
traceState[M, X, Y, C]: /* queues go from empty to in use when data arrives *
type[M, Queue], (X = empty), (Y = in use), (C = arrives[M, data])

Even though the the queuing network is a parallel model and not a state model, we can still ask about state

information. For instance, the question

nextState[Palette Queue, empty, in use, C]

is easily traced to

C = arrives[Palette Queue, Palette].

The generic use of terms like busy, waiting, empty, in use etc. in the fact-base does limit the domain of the

generic knowledge-base. For instance, an investigator might ask "Is Robot 1 active?". It would appear that the

internal form would be stateOf[Robot 1, active]. However, the NLP, through the use of a online

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thesaurus/dictionary, can easily translate this into stateOf[Robot 1, busy]. All that is required is that the NLP have

a list of words that the interpretation system can use. The NLP simply translates into the appropriate words. This

frees the interpretation system and its rules from being domain specific. For example, in a bank queuing network

the question might be "Is the teller working?". Because the words active and working are both synonyms for the

word busy, the translation is trivial.

The use of an NLP to do this translation is not an after-thought in hybrid model theory and is extremely important

for knowledge-based access to dynamic models. Hybrid model theory was developed around the concept of "as

much domain independence as possible with as many analytical methods available". It was found that

formalisms like Petri nets had well defined dynamic semantics, but had no easy way to relate the semantics to

specific domains. Knowledge-base techniques tended to be domain specific, but had no easy way to build up the

complex dynamic operations of the systems to be modelled. By using a few simple rules to ensure consistent

labels, using named structures as an operational part of hybrid model theory (not just a convenience), and taking

advantage of the online thesaurus/dictionaries, an investigator can quickly construct a model that had well

defined formal properties and can be used by a domain independent knowledge-base.

The thesaurus/dictionary acts as the semantic knowledge-base which translates questions between the specific

domains and the generic knowledge-base. The domain objects (palette, robot) in the knowledge-base are derived

from the named sets of the model. The relationships between the objects (is working, is busy) are derived from

the semantics of the formalisms and hybrid model theory (Intra-model coordination in particular). The names of

the relationships between domain objects (assemble, fix) are derived by using the semantics of the formalisms

and by the use of consistent labelling. The fact-base is a set of primitive facts and rules compiled from the model.

When combined with the generic knowledge-base, a very large domain specific knowledge-base can

automatically and quickly be created (compiled) from a model.

To further demonstrate how interpretation can be used, we will outline the trace of a more difficult question. We

assume that the question is converted into machine form by the NLP. However, we realize that the questions in

the natural language form must be very precise. We will examine the question What is the production rate

(dP/dt) in the Normal state of the Factory". We can automatically generate the following internal forms.

dP/dt == "production rate"
modelcontext == Normal

goal[ dP/dt, modelContext]

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Here we assume that questions are ultimately put in the form of a goal. The predicate for this is goal [variable*,

context], where variable* means any number of variables and the context is a description of the system current

state. The information that the Normal state is in the Factory model is useless in the current model because only

one state in the entire system is labeled Normal.

One of the first conclusions a system can easily make is the time period over which the context holds. This is one

of the uses of the model's time domain. It can be concluded that the Factory model is constant for the time in the

question since we are interested in a state of the Factory and the magnitude function shows a significant

difference in time (Normal.T.magnitude[hours] Factory.t.magnitude[hours] << Price.T.magnitude[hours]).

We can now show how the interpreter attempts to formulate the answer to the question. Once the goal predicate

is derived, the interpreter can direct the question to the modelContext. In this example, the knowledge-base for

the Normal model (a state) is "asked" to find dP/dt. This is represented as

stateFind[variables, Model].

If the Normal state model was not sub-modelled the interpreter could return the value set up by the investigator. If

there was no specified value "undefined" could be returned. However, since the Normal state model is sub-

modelled the interpreter (via a rule) redirects the question to the Markov system sub-model. This is represented


markovFind[variables, Model].

In the Markov system in Figure 14, the Robot 1 down, Robot 2 down, and Both down states did not relate the

production rate dP/dt to the output of the model, the interpreter has to determine whether there is or is not output

from these states. The requirement that all data be specified as continuous(discrete) over value and time now

comes into play. Because the production rate (dP/dt) is continuous time and discrete value and the controller is a

state controller, the interpreter can deduce that all states output to the variable dP/dt. Therefore, it can "invent"

symbolic names for the unspecified values from these states. For example, in the Robot 1 Down state the

interpreter would construct the symbol "Robot 1 Down dP/dt". Recall, that for numerical analysis, these missing

values would have to be supplied in order for compilation to be completed.

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We will now discuss how the interpreter, currently within the markovFind[] rule set, can derive the following list of

state dP/dt = [Palette Departure, Robot 1 Down dP/dt, Robot 2 Down dP/dt, Both Down dP/dt];
Down Time probabilities = [0.133, 0.2, 0.533, 0.133];
Palette Departure = Down Time probabilities state dP/dt.

The state dP/dt variable is a temporary set up by the interpreter. The last three entries (Robot 1 Down dP/dt,

Robot 2 Down dP/dt, Both Down dP/dt) in the state dP/dt vector were derived by the interpreter as stipulated in

the last paragraph. The Palette Departure entry was derived from the queuing network model. The interpreter

redirected the "find" predicate form the Both Up state model to the Production Floor queuing network sub-model

via a predicate like quenetFind[variable, Model]. This recursive technique is very similar to the recursive technique

used in symbolic analysis and is made possible by intra-model coordination. Because the queuing network model

is a parallel controller, the interpreter "knows" that there is only one collective state. If we had not connected the

Palette departure model to the output dP/dt of the queuing network the interpreter would have "invented" a

symbolic value. However, because we did make the connection, the interpreter knows that the Palette Departure

is the only source for the production rate dP/dt.

The "Palette Departure = Down Time probabilities state dP/dt" expression is derived from assumptions about

Markov systems. The "Down Time probabilities" is symbolically derived at as shown in the last section. Notice,

that the assumptions made by the interpreter are really rules which apply to controllers. We can verbally sum up

the rules presented so far as

1. If (output type = continuous time, discrete value) and (controller = state) /* knowledge about controllers *

then (all states must supply output)

2. if (output type = continuous time, discrete value) and (controller = parallel) /* knowledge about controllers *

then (find sub-model with output) or (invent a name for output)

3. if (output type = continuous time) /* knowledge about Markov controller *

then (output = find_probability_ vector()* vector [individual state outputs])

These rules demonstrates how hybrid model theory allows knowledge about different formalisms to be

generalized. If we were to add a new formalism which uses a parallel controller, then the above rules would still

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apply. It also demonstrates how one analytical form can help another. Here, symbolic analysis was used to aid in

the interpretation (the find_probability_vector0 function call).

The NLP would convert the results into an answer in words. The answer could be something like "The production

rate is equal to the sum of the probability of four production rates. The states are the Palette departure, the Robot

1 down production rate, the Robot 2 down production rate, and the both down production rate." Deriving such an

answer in words in a non-trivial problem; however, since the answers are usually developed recursively, simple

sentences can be constructed in the same manner.


Hybrid Heterogeneous Hierarchical modelling is a general term used to describe any method which supports the

construction of models in a hierarchical manner with the use of multiple model types. The method must also

support the use of symbolic, numeric, and interpretative analysis methods. Hybrid model theory is a theory which

provides the necessary formality to meet the requirements of HHH modelling. This is accomplished by

coordinating existing modelling formalisms instead of trying to take a single model and generalize it to the point

where analysis does not result in any useful information.

In hybrid model theory, an investigator can easily construct a model by iterative refinement. Each level in the

hierarchy increases the detail and accuracy of the model's behavior. Because each level in the hierarchy is more

abstract than lower levels, a hierarchical model provides an information structure compatible with knowledge-

base reasoning methods; However, each level, even the most abstract ones, are modelled using formalisms

which have well-known symbolic and numeric properties. Therefore, a partial or abstract model can still be

analyzed. The hierarchy also supports developmental and conceptual efficiency for the model builder by allowing

for structured, top-down development.

The most effective mechanism for cultivating developmental and conceptual efficiency is achieved by coordinating

heterogeneous model types. At any level in the hierarchy, an investigator can use a formalism which meets

his/her current functional and pragmatic needs. In hybrid model theory, the modelling formalism which captures

the essential characteristics of the behavior currently being modelled can be coordinated with models of other

parts of the system regardless of the formalisms used to describe them.

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Hybrid model theory conceptually separates formalisms into 2 levels: controller models and component models.

We discussed three of the four types of controllers: state, parallel, and selective model controllers. These three

controller types support intra-Coordination Modelling. Each of these model controllers controls a set of

component models. For example, a Petri net is a selective controller that manages place and transition

component models. By creating two levels, three goals of HHH modelling have been realized. First, a component

can be sub-modelled (coordinated) with another completely different type of formalism (represented by a

controller model). Second, knowledge about controllers can be generalized. This simplifies the inclusion of

additional types of formalisms. Third, intra-model coordination provides a structured way for hybrid symbolic and

numeric analytical methods to be used in conjunction with each other.

Hybrid analysis also includes traditional Al and knowledge-base methods. By taking advantage of natural

language text attached to the nodes and arcs of the model's graph, a fact-base compiled from this text can be

combined with a generalized knowledge-base. The investigator needs only to follow a few simple consistency

rules concerning the form of the text. The compiled knowledge-base then serves as front-end in a computer

environment and as a source of new information by the use of reasoning techniques.


An implementation of hybrid model theory is currently under development on a NeXT computer. The application

provides a graphical interface for the construction of models. The model is simply "drawn" on the screen by

manipulating nodes and connecting them with arcs. A node (component model) can be sub-modelled by

selecting it and then choosing a sub-model type. The program automatically sets up the correct coordination

between the component model and the sub-model. The model is then automatically compiled into Mathematica

code. Currently, Mathematica provides all three types of analyzation. Eventually, numerical analysis (simulation)

will be compiled into Object-C code. Those familiar with Object Oriented principles and distributed simulation

probably recognized that hybrid model theory was developed with these ideas in mind. Object-C is NeXT's object-

oriented language. Because the NeXT uses a UNIX kernel developed from the MACH operating system,

distributed execution of objects is managed by the operating system automatically. The Natural Language Parser

has not yet been developed. However, it is intended that LEX and YACC be used to create the interface.

Additionally, the NeXT environment comes with an installed digital version of Webster's dictionary and thesaurus

and the means to integrate them into the parser.

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In parallel with the implementation, we are working on several problems which may or may not reduce the

effectiveness of hybrid model theory. Although we have ensured that other formalism can be used, we have only

used five formalisms. Some formalisms theoretically fit within hybrid model theory, but not conceptually. For

instance, in back-propagation neural networks, nodes (neurons) traditionally do not have "meaning." Only neutral

networks such as harmony theory have "meaningful" nodes. Labelling a back-propagation neutral network

therefore has no significance.

In general, labelling nodes requires some extra effort. It is certainly much easier than starting a knowledge-base

from scratch. It is also better than having no knowledge-base at all. However, the fact-base will only be sufficient

for complex questions if enough detail has been modelled. Additionally, because the fact-base is developed

strictly from formalisms which are based on time, only dynamic information can be derived. Although some

simple typeOfand partOf information can be found from the hierarchy. For example, in the AFMS the Robot 1

was part of the Factory (partOf[Factory, Robot 1]). This is not enough information to ask questions about

physical structure or the geometry of the system (i.e. Will any of the AG vehicles collide?). In KAS models, the

physical location of objects is going to change over time. It is reasonable to expect that in some systems the

physical relationships between objects over time is the information sought. Currently, we have no clear means to

coordinate geometric formalisms into hybrid model theory.

Another problem is the relationship between different analytical methods. Each routine works individually. In some

cases it is apparent how one method can help another (A symbolic method helping a numeric method). In

general, the knowledge-base will also have to include information concerning the relationship between

properties derived from the analytical methods. This was expected, but the approach can be highly individualized.

Adopting a particular methodology may not be desirable. We do not wish to commit to a method which stipulates

a specific sequence of the principles, but it may be unavoidable if we wish to take advantage of multiple sources

of information.

One problem in which we have had some success in solving concerns the initial commit to a particular model

type. Since our main emphasis was on systems about which very little was known, the initial choice of a model

could not easily be determined (state versus parallel). Therefore, we included an Abstract formalism in hybrid

model theory. This lets the investigator begin to hierarchically describe objects, relationships, and data without

committing to a specific functional approach. When the investigator does commit to an initial approach, the

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abstract formalism (really just a hierarchical graph) serves only to group together the underlying models. The

abstract model has no dynamic description or useful analytical routines, but the graph can be used to compile

simple facts for the knowledge-base which are useful in interpretation.

With hybrid model theory, we at least have a formal foundation upon which these problems can be formulated.

Additionally, hybrid model theory is based on formalisms (Petri nets, queuing nets, etc.) which are used in many

fields and understood by many researchers. We believe this places hybrid model theory in a unique position

within modelling theories. It has extended the potential of formal modelling methods without changing the way

investigators currently use modelling methods and without significantly increasing the complexity involved in



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