Access to Simulations in Order to Extend Information Systems

Gio Wiederhold and Rushan Jiang
Stanford University
Computer Science Department.
Gates Computer Science Building 4A
Stanford CA 94305-9040
650 725-8363 fax 725-2588


We have developed a prototype system to provide access to simulations in order to support the decision-making functions of information systems more completely. The central component is a new interface language, which we call SimQL, which mirrors the functionality of SQL, but provides information from a variety of simulations that information can be projected into the future.

Simulations to be wrapped for SimQL access range from spreadsheets to large remote continuous simulations, as used for weather forecasting. Results from SimQL produce pairs of data elements, the expected value and its certainty. SimQL is not a language for programming the supporting simulations, just as SQL is not the language used to write a DBMS. The motivating concept is that having an interface language allows separation of customers and information providers. In turn, the autonomy created by the language interface allows progress by information customers and their information providers to be made independently.

The intent of SimQL to support an architecture where information systems not only extend their capabilities into the future, but also support the assessment of the effects of alternate decisions, so that multiple future courses can be compared. We expevt atht making results of simulations as accessible as other information components, as databases and web-based data are today will greatly augment the effectiveness of integrated information systems for end-users.