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In scientific applications, dimensional analysis forms a basis for catching errors as it introduces a type-discipline into the equations and formulae. Dimensions in physical quantities are measured via their standard units. However, many programming and modeling tools provide limited support for incorporating these units into the variables. Thus, it is quite difficult for a programmer to ensure dimensional consistency in the code. Different existing standards for units further complicates this problem and an incautious use could cause inconsistencies, often with catastrophic results.
In this paper, we propose an extension of the basic type system in CHARON, a language for modeling of hybrid systems, to include Unit and Dynamic data types. Through a combination of indirect user-guided annotations and typeinference, we address the problem of ensuring both dimensional consistency, and consistency with respect to different unitsystems. Further, we also introduce dynamic data typing, that allows programmers to specify entities that bind at runtime. Such abstractions are particularly useful to program controllers for dynamic environments. We illustrate these benefits with an example on mobile robots.
Date Posted: 15 August 2006
This document has been peer reviewed.