xmds solves complex problems simply and quickly

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Paul Cochrane, May 11, 2004.

  1. xmds - the eXtensible Multi-Dimensional Simulator - is a program for
    solving equations - fast. It is a tool to simplify the computer
    modelling of various systems, and is currently being developed within
    the Australian Centre for Quantum-Atom Optics at the University of
    Queensland in Australia.

    There are many situations in many areas where a system of interest can
    be modelled by a differential equation or equations. Such areas
    include: physics, mathematics, engineering, physical and theoretical
    chemistry, theoretical and computational biology, finance, and
    economics. Modelling these systems involves writing a computer
    program to find a solution to the equations, which is not necessarily
    easy to do. This is where xmds comes in. The advantage of using xmds
    instead of doing the same job by means of conventional programming is
    the same as ordering a pizza as opposed to making one yourself. The
    only thing you have to learn to become an xmds user is "How to order a
    pizza". There are a couple of important differences here though:
    normally you have to pay for the pizza, while xmds comes for free; and
    xmds is like a gourmet pizza outlet - one has the option of exotic
    things like solving stochastic equations, which the chain-brand "pizza
    vendors" don't offer! xmds therefore makes writing complex computer
    simulations simple.

    Another major advantage of xmds is that it is free. The source code
    and documentation can be freely downloaded from the xmds web site,
    http://www.xmds.org/. xmds runs on Linux, Unix (including MacOS X)
    and the Cygwin environment on Windows, help for installing xmds on
    these systems is available both from the web site and the xmds
    distribution. xmds is especially useful in solving complex problems
    requiring solving the problem over many different random parameters.
    Such problems can be parallelised (run on lots of computers at the
    same time) and xmds does this automatically with little user input,
    making the solution of these problems a breeze.

    Often writing a computer program to solve complex problems can be very
    difficult, time-consuming, and error-prone. This is where xmds
    excels. One merely needs to write a script in a high-level form which
    is easy for a person to understand, and xmds goes off and writes the
    low-level code for you, producing code that is better for a computer.
    This makes the writing of a simulation program significantly easier,
    reducing the development time, and almost eliminating bugs since xmds
    has written the vast majority of the code for you and has used
    thoroughly tested code and techniques in the production of the
    program. The output program that xmds writes is still about as fast
    as code hand-written by an expert, so one can has the best of both
    worlds: quick development time, and quick execution.

    So, if you're trying to model a bunch of atoms bouncing around
    together, the diffusion of an electrolyte solution, the reaction of
    enzymes with a substrate, or the volatility of stock prices, then xmds
    is the simulation tool for you.
    Paul Cochrane, May 11, 2004
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