Configuration for Integrating With Simulation Platforms

Configurations for interfacing with simulation platforms will vary depending on the specifications of that platform but there may be few common configuration options that we can group together as separate sections such as:

  • Config parameters that help us setup the simulation such as connection parameters (connection address), unique name for the participant, total simulation time

  • List of topics for subscribing with simulation platform

  • List of topics for publishing to the simulation platform

  • List of topics subscribing with VOLTTRON message bus

We have grouped these four categories of configuration into four different sections - properties, inputs, outputs and volttron_subscriptions. The simulation integration class will read these four sections and register with simulation platform appropriately. If an agent needs to interface with EnergyPlus or HELICS using the simulation integration framework, then it will need to group the configurations into above four sections.


GridAPPS-D can run complex power system simulations using variety of simulators such as GridLAB-D, HELICS, MatPower etc. So the configuration for GridAPPS-D cannot follow the above format. Because of this, the configuration for GridAPPSD is taken in the raw format and passed directly to the GridAPPS-D simulation.

Example Configuration

The configuration for interfacing with a simulation platform is described by using integration with HELICS as an example. Each participant in a HELICS co-simulation environment is called a federate.

Below is an example HELICS config file.

# Config parameters for setting up HELICS federate
    name: federate1 # unique name for the federate
    loglevel: 5 # log level
    coreType: zmq # core type
    timeDelta: 1.0 # time delta (defaults to 1s)
    uninterruptible: true
    simulation_length: 360 # simulation length in seconds (defaults to 360s)

# configuration for subscribing to HELICS simulation
    # List of subscription information, typically contains
    # - subscription topic,
    # - datatype
    # - publication topic for VOLTTRON (optional) to republish the
    #   message on VOLTTRON message bus
    # - additional/optional simulation specific configuration
    - sim_topic: federate2/totalLoad
      volttron_topic: helics/abc
      type: complex
      required: true
    - sim_topic: federate2/charge_EV6
      volttron_topic: helics/ev6
      type: complex
      required: true

# configuration for publishing to HELICS simulation
    # List of publication information, containing
    # - HELICS publication topic,
    # - datatype
    # - metadata associated with the topic (for example unit)
    # - subscription topic for VOLTTRON message bus (optional) which can then be
    #   republished on HELICS with HELICS publication topic
    # - additional/optional publication specific configuration
    - sim_topic: pub1 # HELICS publication key
      type: double    # datatype
      unit: m         # unit
      info: this is an information string for use by the application #additional info
      volttron_topic: pub1/all # topic to subscribe on VOLTTRON bus
      global: true
    - sim_topic: pub2
      type: double
      volttron_topic: pub2/all

    - feeder0_output/all

The properties section may contain the following.

  • Unique name for the federate

  • core type (for example, zmq, tcp, mpi)

  • time step delta in seconds

  • total simulation time etc


The individual fields under this section may vary depending on whether the agent is interfacing with HELICS or EnergyPlus.

In the inputs section, list of subscriptions (if any) need to be provided. Each subscription will contain the following.

  • subscription topic

  • data type

  • VOLTTRON topic to republish the message on VOLTTRON message bus (optional)

  • required flag (optional)

In the outputs section, list of publications (if any) need to be provided. Each publication will contain the following.

  • publication topic

  • data type

  • metadata associated with the topic

  • VOLTTRON topic to subscribe on the VOLTTRON message bus which will be republished on simulation bus (optional)

  • additional information (optional)

In the volttron_subscriptions, list of topics need to be subscribed on VOLTTRON bus can be provided.