What is the Difference Between Process Simulation & Modeling?

The terms simulation and modeling have been incorrectly used in computer science. Process simulation software and modeling software are frequently misused. All the same, we will elaborate on what the differences between modeling and simulation software solutions are.

Process Simulation Software

Let’s first start by explaining the purpose of simulation. It’s used to imitate real life events with the use of characteristics and behaviors of a system are mirrored in order to understand how a given system works. Inferring the behavior of a given system enables us to optimize its performance or extrapolate the output given a set of inputs.

There are several types of simulations. One such type is process simulation. Process simulation is specifically used in technical processes. It is the type of simulation used in the design, development, analysis, and optimization of chemical, biological and physical processes. In modern day, rigorous chemical computations needed in chemical or processing plants are no longer required to be done. Process simulation software takes into account all the variables and attributes involved in the operation and relays what would be the expected outcome.

Modeling Software

Modeling software, on the other hand, refers to creating a physical replica of a product or mathematical equations of a situation. It is building a product, physical or digital, that represents a system is various industries. For example, a 3 dimensional replica of a ship could be made. It is not an actual ship, but the model copies the ship’s attributes albeit the dimensions being reduced in scale. Another good example would be small-sized models of buildings made by architects to depict how the finished structure will look like. Similarly, a 3-dimensional visualization of the ship could be made as a computer model where the ship designers could zoom and get a better picture of the dimensions of the ship. Other real-life scenarios can be modeled using differential equations. A model may be an exact replica of the existing systems or may make approximation on certain values.

From the definitions above, it’s easy to understand why process simulation software and modeling software could be mistaken in meaning for the other. They both can be computer applications representing real-world phenomena, and both save enormous amounts of time and money for design engineers. However, there are other elaborate distinctions between simulation and modeling.

First of all, observations made on a model only represent what a real-life system would do. Modeling is used for analysis about how well a system would perform. A simulation, on the other hand, could be altered to have variables that would otherwise be impossible in order to view the results. Simulation is, therefore, better suited to test the limits of a given system. Models can be considered to be static in nature. As mentioned above, a model would represent the system as it is hence the variables do not change. A simulation, on the other hand, can be considered to be dynamic. This is because the variables in a simulation can be altered and thus changes in the system can be observed when different variables are simulated.