Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

Constructive Models of Discrete and Continuous Physical Phenomena

Edward A. Lee

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2014-15
February 8, 2014

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-15.pdf

This paper studies the semantics of models for discrete physical phenomena such as rigid body collisions and switching in electronic circuits. The paper combines generalized functions (specifically the Dirac delta function), superdense time, modal models, and constructive semantics to get a rich, flexible, efficient, and rigorous approach to modeling such systems. It shows that many physical scenarios that have been problematic for modeling techniques manifest as nonconstructive models, and that constructive versions of some of the models properly reflect uncertainty in the behavior of the physical systems that plausibly arise from the principles of quantum mechanics. The paper argues that these modeling difficulties are not reasonably solved by more detailed continuous models of the underlying physical phenomena. Such more detailed models simply shift the uncertainty to other aspects of the model. Since such detailed models come with a high computational cost, there is little justification in using them unless the goal of modeling is specifically to understand these more detailed physical processes. All models in this paper are implemented in the Ptolemy II modeling and simulation environment and made available online.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Lee:EECS-2014-15,
    Author = {Lee, Edward A.},
    Title = {Constructive Models of Discrete and Continuous Physical Phenomena},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2014},
    Month = {Feb},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-15.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2014-15},
    Abstract = {This paper studies the semantics of models for discrete physical phenomena such as rigid body collisions and switching in electronic circuits. The paper combines generalized functions (specifically the Dirac delta function), superdense time, modal models, and constructive semantics to get a rich, flexible, efficient, and rigorous approach to modeling such systems. It shows that many physical scenarios that have been problematic for modeling techniques manifest as nonconstructive models, and that constructive versions of some of the models properly reflect uncertainty in the behavior of the physical systems that plausibly arise from the principles of quantum mechanics. The paper argues that these modeling difficulties are not reasonably solved by more detailed continuous models of the underlying physical phenomena. Such more detailed models simply shift the uncertainty to other aspects of the model. Since such detailed models come with a high computational cost, there is little justification in using them unless the goal of modeling is specifically to understand these more detailed physical processes. All models in this paper are implemented in the Ptolemy II modeling and simulation environment and made available online.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Lee, Edward A.
%T Constructive Models of Discrete and Continuous Physical Phenomena
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2014
%8 February 8
%@ UCB/EECS-2014-15
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2014/EECS-2014-15.html
%F Lee:EECS-2014-15