Fundamental Examples¶

The Fundamental Examples teach three concepts to build on a default setup:

The Fundamental examples are meant to build in complexity – if you are new to HELICS, we recommend you start with the Base Example, which is also the recommended default setup. The examples in this section start with the simplest configuration method, which makes assumptions about the system which may not be completely valid but are reasonable for learning purposes.

This page describes the model – what is the research question addressed, and what are the components to a simple HELICS co-simulation:

Where is the code?

The code for the Fundamental examples can be found in the HELICS-Examples repository on github. If you have issues navigating to the examples, visit the HELICS gitter page or the user forum on github.

What is this Co-simulation doing?

The Fundamental Examples model the interaction between five electric vehicles (EVs) each connected to a charging station – five EVs, five charging stations. You can imagine that five EVs enter a parking garage filled with charging stations (charging garage). We will be modeling the EVs as if they are solely their on-board batteries.

Imagine you are the engineer assigned to assess how much power will be needed to serve EVs in this charging garage. The goal of the co-simulation is to calculate the instantaneous power draw from the EVs in the garage.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:

1. How many EVs are likely to be charging at any given time?
2. What is the charge rate (power draw limitation) for these EVs?
3. What is the battery size (total capacity) for these EVs?

For now, we’ve decided that there will always be five EVs and five charging stations. We can also define a few functions to assign the charge rates and the battery sizes. This requires some thinking about which federate will manage what information.

The co-simulation has two federates: one for the EVs, and one for the Chargers. The batteries on board the EVs will remain the domain of the EVs and inform the EV state of charge (SOC). The Chargers will manage the voltage applied to the EV batteries, and will retain knowledge of the rate of charge.

Within the federate Battery.py, EV battery sizes can be generated using the function get_new_battery:

def get_new_battery(numBattery):
# Probabilities of a new EV battery having small capacity (lvl1),
# medium capacity (lvl2), and large capacity (lvl3).
lvl1 = 0.2
lvl2 = 0.2
lvl3 = 0.6

# Batteries have different sizes:
# [25,62,100]
listOfBatts = np.random.choice([25,62,100],numBattery,p=[lvl1,lvl2,
lvl3]).tolist()
return listOfBatts


Within the federate Charger.py, the charge rate for each EV is generated using the function get_new_EV:

def get_new_EV(numEVs):
# Probabilities of a new EV charging at the specified level.
lvl1 = 0.05
lvl2 = 0.6
lvl3 = 0.35
listOfEVs = np.random.choice([1,2,3],numEVs,p=[lvl1,lvl2,lvl3]).tolist()
numLvl1 = listOfEVs.count(1)
numLvl2 = listOfEVs.count(2)
numLvl3 = listOfEVs.count(3)

return numLvl1,numLvl2,numLvl3,listOfEVs


The probabilities assigned to each of these functions are placeholders – a more advanced application can be found in the Orchestration Tutorial.

Now that we know these three quantities – the number of EVs, the capacity of their batteries, and their charge rates, we can build a co-simulation from the two federates. The Battery.py federate will update the SOC of each EV after it receives the voltage from the Charger.py federate. The Charger.py federate will send a voltage signal to the EV until it tells the Charger it has reached its full capacity.

The Battery.py federate can tell us the SOC of each EV throughout the co-simulation, and the Charger.py federate can tell us the aggregate power draw from all the EVs throughout the co-simulation. The co-simulation will be run for one week.

HELICS Components

We know conceptually what we want to (co-)simulate. What are the necessary HELICS components to knit these two federates into one co-simulation?

Register and Configure Federates

The first task is to register and configure the federates with HELICS within each python program:

    ##########  Registering  federate and configuring from JSON################
fed = h.helicsCreateValueFederateFromConfig("BatteryConfig.json")
federate_name = h.helicsFederateGetName(fed)
logger.info(f'Created federate {federate_name}')
print(f'Created federate {federate_name}')


Since we are configuring with external JSON files, this is done in one line!

Enter Execution Mode

The HELICS co-simulation starts by instructing each federate to enter execution mode.

    ##############  Entering Execution Mode  ##################################
h.helicsFederateEnterExecutingMode(fed)
logger.info('Entered HELICS execution mode')

Define Time Variables

Time management is a vital component to HELICS co-simulations. Every HELICS co-simulation needs to be provided information about the start time (grantedtime), the end time (total_interval) and the time step (update_interval). Federates can step through time at different rates [LINK TO TIME MD], and it is allowable to have federates start and stop at different times, but this must be curated to meet the needs of the research question.

    hours = 24 * 7
total_interval = int(60 * 60 * hours)
update_interval = int(h.helicsFederateGetTimeProperty(
fed,
h.helics_property_time_period))
grantedtime = 0

Initiate Time Steps for the Time Loop

Starting the co-simulation time sequence is also a function of the needs of the research question. In the Base Example, the EVs will already be “connected” to the Chargers and will be waiting for the voltage signal from the Charger. This means we need to set up a signal to send from the Charger to the EV before the EV requests the signal.

In the Battery.py federate, Time is initiated by starting a while loop and requesting the first time stamp:

    while grantedtime < total_interval:

# Time request for the next physical interval to be simulated
requested_time = (grantedtime+update_interval)
logger.debug(f'Requesting time {requested_time}')
grantedtime = h.helicsFederateRequestTime (fed, requested_time)
logger.debug(f'Granted time {grantedtime}')


In the Charger.py federate, we need to send the first signal before entering the time while loop. This is accomplished by requesting an initial time (outside the while loop), sending the signal, and then starting the time while loop:

    # Blocking call for a time request at simulation time 0
initial_time = 60
logger.debug(f'Requesting initial time {initial_time}')
grantedtime = h.helicsFederateRequestTime(fed, initial_time )
logger.debug(f'Granted time {grantedtime}')

# Apply initial charging voltage
for j in range(0, pub_count):
h.helicsPublicationPublishDouble(pubid[j], charging_voltage[j])
logger.debug(f'\tPublishing charging voltage of {charging_voltage[j]} '
f' at time {grantedtime}')

########## Main co-simulation loop ########################################
# As long as granted time is in the time range to be simulated...
while grantedtime < total_interval:

# Time request for the next physical interval to be simulated
requested_time = (grantedtime + update_interval)
logger.debug(f'Requesting time {requested_time}')
grantedtime = h.helicsFederateRequestTime (fed, requested_time)
logger.debug(f'Granted time {grantedtime}')


Once inside the time loop, information is requested and sent between federates at each time step. In the Base Example, the federates first request information from the handles to which they have subscribed, and then send information from the handles from which they publish.

The Battery.py federate first asks for voltage information from the handles to which it subscribes:

            # Get the applied charging voltage from the EV
charging_voltage = h.helicsInputGetDouble((subid[0]))
f' {h.helicsSubscriptionGetKey(subid[0])}')


And then (after doing some internal calculations) publishes the charging current of the battery at its publication handle:

            # Publish out charging current
h.helicsPublicationPublishDouble(pubid[j], charging_current)
logger.debug(f'\tPublished {pub_name[j]} with value '
f'{charging_current:.2f}')


Meanwhile, the Charger.py federate asks for charging current from the handles to which it subscribes:

            charging_current[j] = h.helicsInputGetDouble((subid[j]))
logger.debug(f'\tCharging current: {charging_current[j]:.2f} from '
f'input {h.helicsSubscriptionGetKey(subid[j])}')


And publishes the charging voltage at its publication handle:

            # Publish updated charging voltage
h.helicsPublicationPublishDouble(pubid[j], charging_voltage[j])
logger.debug(
f'\tPublishing charging voltage of {charging_voltage[j]} '
f' at time {grantedtime}')

Finalize Co-simulation

After all the time steps have completed, it’s good practice to finalize the co-simulation by freeing the federates and closing the HELICS libraries:

status = h.helicsFederateFinalize(fed)
h.helicsFederateFree(fed)
h.helicsCloseLibrary()