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In this paper, we define the notion of approximate bisimulation relation between two systems, extending the well established exact bisimulation relations for discrete and continuous systems. Exact bisimulation requires that the observations of two systems are and remain identical, approximate bisimulation allows the observation to be different provided they are and remain arbitrarily close. Approximate bisimulation relations are conveniently defined as level sets of a function called bisimulation function. For the class of linear systems with constrained initial states and constrained inputs, we develop effective characterizations for bisimulation functions that can be interpreted in terms of linear matrix inequalities, set inclusion and games. We derive a computationally effective algorithm to evaluate the precision of the approximate bisimulation between a constrained linear system and its projection. This algorithm has been implemented in a MATLAB toolbox: MATISSE. Two examples of use of the toolbox in the context of safety verification are shown.
Date Posted: 26 October 2006