At the start of this book, we looked at how to write equations and transform those into simulations. That, by itself, is very interesting because we were able to avoid having to worry about how we would solve the resulting linear and non-linear systems of equations or how to integrate the resulting differential equations. However, writing complex systems in terms of individual equations does not scale well.
So, we then explored the features of Modelica that allow us to create component models so that we could reuse these equations without having to take the time to write them out in every context where they would be used. Not only did this allow us to compose systems from pre-defined (and presumably tested) component models, it also allowed us, through the use of Modelica’s standard graphical annotations, to compose and represent systems graphically.
This too has scalability issues because building complex models strictly from components requires a great deal of dragging, dropping and connecting of components. Furthermore, system models can become large and complex without any kind of hierarchy. This is yet another limitation to scalability. To address this issue, we examined how to define reusable subsystem models that, instead of containing equations to be reused, contained reusable assemblies of components and other subsystems. In this way, we could drag, drop and connect common assemblies of components into reusable assemblies. This minimized the amount of dragging, dropping and connecting that was required to build complex system models.
Each step in this progression has shown how to reduce the amount of tedious, time consuming and potentially error prone work we need to perform in order to build system models. This chapter represents the last step along this progression. Here, we will learn about architectures. Architectures are models where a collection of subsystems have been pre-connected and the composition of the system is done by simply selecting specific implementations (models) for each subsystem in our system. In this way, not only do we not need to supply equations, we don’t even need to drag, drop and connect components or subsystems. Instead, we only need to choose the specific model to use for each particular subsystem.