Introduction to the HELICS Co-Simulation Platform for Multi-System Modeling and Simulation

Dheepak Krishnamurthy (NREL)


Dr. Trevor Hardy (PNNL)

Presenters: Dr. Trevor Hardy (PNNL), Dheepak Krishnamurthy (NREL)

Target Audience: Simulation tool developers and users doing analysis across traditional simulation tool domain boundaries

Mode: Presentation, live demonstration, hands-on instruction

Abstract: HELICS, the DOE-funded co-simulation platform, is a tool for integration model/simulation tools across domain boundaries to enable larger-scale and more complex models and corresponding analysis. HELICS enables the transmission of model state (typically at model boundaries) during simulation tool runtime, allowing tools with typically non-dynamic boundary conditions to send and receive runtime-updated information, tying the disparate simulation tools together. By using this co-simulation technique, it is possible to extend functionality of existing simulation tools and implement models with increased fidelity and/or scale more easily than would otherwise be possible.

The development of HELICS over the past several years has targeted power system analysis as its first application area. Using HELICS, it has been possible to create integrated models spanning geographic scope from individual houses to bulk-power system generators. Such models allow analysis to assess, for example, how air-conditioner control can relieve stress on the power system during peak-load conditions or how EV charging can be managed to make better use of otherwise curtailed renewable generation. It has also been used to better model abnormal contingency events such as the unexpected loss of a generator and analyze the transient response, from individual loads to generators.

This tutorial will provide an introduction to co-simulation as an analysis technique and motivation for its use, review of the co-simulation process as managed by HELICS, and instruction on the use of the fundamental APIs when adding HELICS to an existing simulation tool. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to install HELICS on their local computers, run existing examples demonstrating various HELICS features and modify the existing examples to alter the example simulator integration.