LBNL uses Modelica and FMI as unifying forces for interdisciplinary building automation research

When Dr. Michael Wetter uses the term ecosystem, he doesn't exaggerate.

Dr. Wetter is Deputy Group Leader of the Simulation Research Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). LBNL, one of the U.S. Department of Energy's research labs, comprises 4,000 researchers working across a wide variety of disciplines, including mathematics, physics, computer science and engineering. Among these multi-disciplinary teams are a number of Nobel Prize winners.

Modelica and FMI offer the open standards that unify this diverse ecosystem under one platform based on open standards.

One of the most important benefits of the open standards approach, according to Dr. Wetter, is the ability to do rapid prototyping of new systems. Modelica enables researchers to “quickly extend existing tools [and] reconfigure them, or [take] existing models and reconfigure them, and analyze new systems that have not been implemented yet by developers.”

Another key benefit is the flexibility to use different simulators and models. FMI provides the standard interface for coupling existing simulators and combining models from Modelica with those from other simulators. This enables LBNL “to do an integrated analysis or to embed such models directly into building automation systems."

Dr. Wetter is in the midst of an international project involving 17 countries to develop a new generation of computational tools for building and community energy systems. The underlying foundation for the research? Modelica and FMI, of course.

This 4:00 interview is another in a series conducted by Modelon's Jeff Waters at the 10th International Modelica Conference in Lund, Sweden in March 2014.