Thread: Simul8????
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Old 08-30-2010
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Kenny Macleod Kenny Macleod is offline
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Both are Discrete Event Simulation applications but Flexsim and SIMUL8 are not really competitive. SIMUL8 has been about for a while and is well known (partly due to a good university programme), Flexsim on the other hand comparitively less well known (although we're working on it) - I can only speak for Australia here.

Flexsim is highly visual, whereas SIMUL8 uses what I call stick-man graphics - simply icons moving (or not) about the screen. SIMUL8 does have some post process 3D rendering but, in my opinion, it's pointless.

Flexsim uses triggers, so multiple points within a process can invoke a procedure (eg - onLoad, onMessage, onCompletion, etc) I believe SIMUL8 processes are fairly simple, single function entities, and sometimes require a series of processes linked together to achieve what Flexsim might be able to do in one step.

Also, as flexsim models are open source, just the models and not the software , you have full control over how they operate, Both have their own programming language, but SIMUL8 doesn't have the depth of control over every point of the model that Flexsim has (Which also has full C++ support).

Flexsim has excellent connectivity to/from any data source, not sure SIMUL8 has as much. Both can be run as COM objects from other applications. For example you can manage a spreadsheet, which in turn controlls the simulation in the background and returns metrics to the spreadsheet. Users don't even know that the simulation app was used.

SIMUL8 differentiates its funtionality to offer two versions (standard and professional), Flexim just offers one. That said, Flexsim now has Healthcare and Port Operations libraries; these are essentially different products rather than different versions. Both have runtime versions, which don't let users alter models, just the parameters.

Of course the differences are reflected in the price. Both provide a cost effective modelling environment; however, its just that you get what you pay for. Sometimes SIMUL8 is perfectly good for the job, other times it's not, but I've yet to find a simulation job Flexsim cant tackle.

In terms of support: If you buy SIMUL8 then that's it, no upgrade unless you buy it; whereas Flexsim gives you a year of upgrades. They both give a year of support.

I'm sure there's a lot more but that's a brain dump of what I can remember..

Hope this is of use,

Kenny
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