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The What, Where and Why of Real-Time Simulation

Author : Jean Bélanger, Jean-Nicolas. Paquin, P. Venne

Simulation tools have been widely used for the design and improvement of electrical systems since the midtwentieth century. The evolution of simulation tools has progressed in step with the evolution of computing technologies. In recent years, computing technologies have improved dramatically in performance and become widely available at a steadily decreasing cost. Consequently, simulation tools have also seen dramatic performance gains and steady cost decreases. Researchers and engineers now have access to affordable, high performance simulation tools that were previously too costprohibitive, except for the largest manufacturers and utilities. This paper introduces the role and advantages of using real-time simulation by answering three fundamental questions: what is real-time simulation; why is it needed and where does it best fit. The recent evolution of real-time simulators is summarized. The importance of model validation, mixed use of real-time and offline modes of simulation and test coverage in complex systems is discussed.