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Part 4: Adding Ports

In Part 3 you improved the square_wave_closed_system node by replacing std::cout with print as a means of outputting information. Yet there’s an even better way to let a node interact with its surroundings. In general, a node should have ports through which it communicates with other nodes. So let’s add ports to the node.

Make a copy of the square_wave_closed_system.h file, and name the new file square_wave_generator_node.h.

In the new version of the node, replace both instances of…




…and then use a Find & Replace tool to replace all instances of…


…with the following.


You now have a node that’s identical to the one you previously simulated, except with a new name. Let’s take the renamed node and add a few ports.

Find the comment // Ports: and define three ports underneath, as follows.

    // Ports:
    port<flow, input, duration> period_dt_input;  // input waveform period
    port<flow, input, float64> duty_cycle_input;  // input duty cycle
    port<message, output, float64> y_output;      // output signal level

The first two ports are flow input ports, otherwise known as “parameters”. In this example, the flow input ports allow the period and duty cycle of the square wave to be configured when the node is first initialized. There is also a message output port, which in this case is used to update the output signal level whenever it changes.

Ports must be initialized at the top of the constructor, so find the following line of code…

    : atomic_node(node_name, external_context)

…and directly underneath it add the three instructions below.

    , period_dt_input("period_dt_input", external_interface())
    , duty_cycle_input("duty_cycle_input", external_interface())
    , y_output("y_output", external_interface())

Now that the ports have been defined and initialized, the next step is to make use of them. Go to the initialization_event member function and replace the lines that initialize the period_dt and duty_cycle state variables with the following.

    period_dt = period_dt_input.value().fixed_at(time_precision());
    duty_cycle = duty_cycle_input.value();

The above lines extract data from the flow input ports. To make use of the message output port, delete the print statement in the planned_event function and replace it with the instruction below.


Save the file.

The node is now complete and needs to be tested. However, because the node has ports, it cannot be simulated directly. To enable simulation, we need to define an encompassing “closed system” node with no ports.

Create a text file named square_wave_integration_closed_system.h and save it with the following code.

#pragma once

#include <nodes/getting_started/waveform/square_wave_generator_node.h>
#include <sydevs/systems/composite_node.h>
#include <sydevs/systems/parameter_node.h>

namespace sydevs_tutorial {

using namespace sydevs;
using namespace sydevs::systems;

class square_wave_integration_closed_system : public composite_node
    // Constructor/Destructor:
    square_wave_integration_closed_system(const std::string& node_name, const node_context& external_context);
    virtual ~square_wave_integration_closed_system() = default;

    // Ports:

    // Components:
    parameter_node<duration> period_dt;
    parameter_node<float64> duty_ratio;
    square_wave_generator_node generator;

square_wave_integration_closed_system::square_wave_integration_closed_system(const std::string& node_name, const node_context& external_context)
    : composite_node(node_name, external_context)
    , period_dt("period_dt", internal_context())
    , duty_ratio("duty_ratio", internal_context(), 0.5)
    , generator("generator", internal_context())
    // Initialization Links:
    inner_link(period_dt.parameter, generator.period_dt_input);
    inner_link(duty_ratio.parameter, generator.duty_cycle_input);

    // Simulation Links:

    // Finalization Links:

}  // namespace


The node in this file inherits from composite_node, a base class for defining networks of nodes. In this case the network consists of two parameter nodes (period_dt and duty_ratio) connected to a simulation node (generator). In the next part of this tutorial, you will expand this example with an additional simulation node that numerically integrates the square wave.

Now that the square_wave_generator_node is incorporated by another node with no ports, you can prepare a simulation. Edit the square_wave.h file by inserting the following #include line.

#include <nodes/getting_started/waveform/square_wave_integration_closed_system.h>

Then add the simulate_square_wave_integration_closed_system function, as defined below, directly below the similar function that already exists in the file.

void simulate_square_wave_integration_closed_system()
    try {
        simulation<square_wave_integration_closed_system> sim(1_min, 0, std::cout);
    catch (const system_node::error& e) {
        std::cout << "SYSTEM NODE ERROR: " << e.what() << std::endl;
    catch (const std::exception& e) {
        std::cout << "OTHER ERROR: " << e.what() << std::endl;

In the above function, observe the lines that provide values for the period_dt and duty_ratio parameters. If the period_dt assignment were omitted, the simulation would fail due to the missing input. But if the duty_ratio assignment were omitted, the simulation would proceed with the 50% default duty ratio specified in the composite node. Also observe in the above function the instruction that prints every output of the generator node’s y_output port. This is how we will view the simulation results.

Save the file.

In the src/simulations folder, make a new folder called simulation_with_ports. In the new folder, save a main.cpp file with the following code.

#include <nodes/getting_started/waveform/square_wave.h>

int main(int argc, const char* argv[])
    return 0;

Finally, append the following instructions onto the bottom of CMakeLists.txt.

add_executable(simulation_with_ports ${SIMULATION_WITH_PORTS_SRCS} ${WAVEFORM_HDRS})
target_link_libraries(simulation_with_ports SyDEVS-static)

Build and run the simulation_with_ports executable. You should get the results below, where the signal level is printed along with the node and port on which the output values are made available.

1|0|$time:time_point() + 7_s
2|0|$time:time_point() + 10_s
3|0|$time:time_point() + 17_s
4|0|$time:time_point() + 20_s
5|0|$time:time_point() + 27_s
6|0|$time:time_point() + 30_s
7|0|$time:time_point() + 37_s
8|0|$time:time_point() + 40_s
9|0|$time:time_point() + 47_s
10|0|$time:time_point() + 50_s
11|0|$time:time_point() + 57_s

You now have a simulation node that communicates via ports to configure and generate a square wave. In Part 5, you will create another simulation node that numerically integrates the square wave. The generator and integrator nodes will be linked together.

Continue to Part 5