Exact-differential simulation: Differential processing of large-scale discrete event simulations
Using computer simulation to analyze large-scale discrete event systems requires repeated executions with various scenarios or parameters. Such repeated executions can induce significant redundancy in event processing when the modification from a prior scenario to a new scenario is relatively minor, and when the altered scenario influences only a small part of the simulation. For example, in a city-scale traffic simulation, an altered scenario of blocking one junction may only affect a small part of the city for considerable length of time. However, traditional simulation approaches would still repeat the simulation for the whole city even when the changes are minor. In this article, we propose a new redundancy reduction technique for large-scale discrete event simulations, called exact-differential simulation, which simulates only the altered portions of scenarios and their influences in repeated executions while still achieving the same results as the re-execution of entire simulations. This article presents the main concepts of the exact-differential simulation, the design of its algorithm, and an approach to build an exact-differential simulation middleware that supports multiple applications of discrete event simulation. We also evaluate our approach by using two case studies, PHOLD benchmark and a traffic simulation of Tokyo.