This section describes how mosaik works without going into too much detail. After reading this, you should have a general understanding of what mosaik does and how to proceed in order to implement the mosaik API or to create a simulation scenario.

What’s mosaik supposed to do?

Mosaik’s main goal is to use existing simulators in a common context in order to perform a coordinated simulation of a given (Smart Grid) scenario.

That means that all simulators (or other tools and hardware-in-the-loop) involved in a simulation usually run in their own process. Mosaik just tries to synchronize these processes and manages the exchange of data between them.

To allow this, mosaik

  1. provides an API for simulators to communicate with mosaik,

  2. implements handlers for different kinds of simulator processes,

  3. allows the modelling of simulation scenarios involving the different simulators, and

  4. schedules the step-wise execution of the different simulators and manages the exchange of data (data-flows) between them.

Although mosaik is written in Python 3, its simulator API completely language agnostic. It doesn’t matter if your simulator is written in Python 2, Java, C, matlab or anything else.

A simple example


We have simulators for households (blue icon) and for photovoltaics (green). We’re also gonna use a load flow analysis tool (grey), and a monitoring and analysis tool (yellow).

First, we have to implement the mosaik API for each of these “simulators”. When we are done with this, we can create a scenario where we connect the households to nodes in the power grid. Some of the households will also get a PV module. The monitoring / analysis tool will be connected to the power grid’s transformer node. When we connect all these entities, we also tell mosaik about the data-flows between them (e.g., active power feed-in from the PV modules to a grid node).

When we finally start the simulation, mosaik requests the simulators to perform simulation steps and exchanges data between them according to the data-flows described in the scenario. For our simple example, that would roughly look like this:

  1. The household and PV simulator perform a simulation step for an interval [0, t[.

  2. Mosaik gets the values for, e.g., P and Q (active and reactive power) for every household and every PV module.

  3. Mosaik sets the values P and Q for every node of the power grid based on the data it collected in step 2. The load flow simulator performs a simulation step for [0, t[ based on these inputs.

  4. Mosaik collects data from the load flow simulator, sends it to the monitoring tool and lets it also perform a simulation step for [0, t[.

  5. Now the whole process is repeated for [t, t+i[ and so forth until the simulation ends.

In this example, all simulators had the same step size t, but this is not necessary. Every simulator can have its one step size (which may even vary during the simulation). It is also possible that a simulator (e.g., a control strategy) can set input values (e.g., a schedule) to another simulator (e.g., for “intelligent” consumers).

Mosaik’s main components

Mosaik consists of four main components that implement the different aspects of a co-simulation framework:

  1. The mosaik Sim API defines the communication protocol between simulators and mosaik.

    Mosaik uses plain network sockets and JSON encoded messages to communicate with the simulators. We call this the low-level API. For some programming languages there also exists a high-level API that implements everything networking related and offers an abstract base class. You then only have to write a subclass and implement a few methods.

    Read more …

  2. The Scenario API provides a simple API that allows you to create your simulation scenarios in pure Python (yes, no graphical modelling!).

    The scenario API allows you to start simulators and instantiate models from them. This will give you entity sets (sets of entities). You can then connect the entities with each other in order to establish data-flows between the simulators.

    Mosaik allows you both, connecting one entity at a time as well as connecting whole entity sets with each other.

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  3. The Simulator Manager (or shorter, SimManager) is responsible for handling the simulator processes and communicating with them.

    It is able to a) start new simulator processes, b) connect to already running process instances, and c) import a simulator module and execute it in-process if it’s written in Python 3.

    The in-process execution has some benefits: it reduces the amount of memory required (because less processes need to be started) and it avoids the overhead of (de)serializing and sending messages over the network.

    External processes, however, can be executed in parallel which is not possible with in-process simulators.

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  4. Mosaik’s Scheduler uses the event-discrete simulation approach for the coordinated simulation of a scenario.

    Mosaik supports both time-discrete and event-discrete simulations as well as a combination of both paradigms.

    Mosaik is able to handle simulators with different step sizes. A simulator may even vary its step size during the simulation.

    Mosaik tracks the dependencies between the simulators and only lets them perform a simulation step if necessary (e.g., because its data is needed by another simulator). It is also able to let multiple simulators perform their simulation step in parallel if they don’t depend on each other’s data.

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