645.758.81 - Advanced Systems Modeling and Simulation

Systems Engineering
Fall 2023


This course provides in-depth exposure to the field of modeling and simulation (M&S) from the perspective of M&S as an essential tool for systems engineering. Advanced statistical methods are used to conduct requirements-driven simulation analysis and experimentation. The course provides treatment of advanced M&S topics, including methods for simulation interoperability and composability; modeling of the system environment, both natural and man-made; modeling of system costs; and the establishment of collaborative M&S environments. The course also explores continuous and real-time simulation. Students are exposed to the techniques used to form conceptual models of mechanical (both translational and rotational), electrical, fluid, thermal, biological, and hybrid systems. The conceptual models are transformed into mathematical models and implemented in a modern simulation package. State-of-the-art tools are explored, and each student is given the opportunity to conduct a simulation study of a complex system. Each student will present a case study and complete a project. Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to conduct or lead the development of the model of a complex physical system, model the input data, and analyze the results to support decisions at key milestones of a system's life cycle.


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James Coolahan


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John Daly

Course Structure

Details on the course structure can be found in the Course Outline, the Student Coursework Requirements Section of this Syllabus, and in the Calendar. Each course module runs for a period of seven (7) days, starting on Monday and ending the following Sunday. Reading Assignments listed in any module week are intended to amplify the lecture for that week. Please refer to the Calendar for the specific start and end dates for each module in this course.

Course Topics

1.1: Course Introduction
1.2: Basic Markup and Modeling Languages - XML and UML

2.1: Introduction to MATLAB
2.2: Modeling Translational Mechanical Systems

3.1: Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Systems Modeling Language (SysML)

4.1: Standard Forms & Block Diagrams
4.2: Modeling Rotational Mechanical Systems

5.1: Interoperable Simulation - the High Level Architecture (HLA)
5.2: Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) Simulation Techniques

6.1: Collaborative Simulation Environments for Systems Engineering
6.2: M&S Asset Repositories - Construction and Use

7.1: Midterm Exam

8.1: Modeling Electrical Systems
8.2: Modeling Electromechanical Systems

9.1: Modeling the Natural Environment
9.2: Modeling the Man-Made Environment

10.1: Modeling Thermal Systems
10.2: Modeling Fluid Systems

11.1: Cost Modeling

12.1: Modeling Populations and Disease
12.2: Introduction to Visualization and Animation

13.1: Project Presentations

14.1: The Future of M&S in Systems Engineering
14.2: Final Exam

Course Goals

To provide knowledge of advanced modeling and simulation concepts and techniques useful in systems engineering, as well as practical experience in developing small simulations in various engineering disciplines.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


There is no required textbook for this course; however, please see the Required Software section below for information regarding the software that will be required for this course.

Required Software

Instead of a textbook, you will need access to MATLAB with SIMULINK. MATLAB is available for free for instructors and students through the myJHU portal at https://my.jh.edu/portal/. Please visit the portal, log in, and look for "Technology" on the left side of the page. From there, please click on "mySoftware," and then follow the link to access the Software Catalog. Under the Software Catalog, please click "Order Software" and search for MATLAB.

We recommend students also become familiar with Magic Systems of Systems Architect (formerly Cameo Enterprise Architecture). Students in Engineering for Professional's Systems Engineering (SE) program now have free access to this tool for all of their SE courses.  Although not a requirement for this course, the tool may be helpful in drawing SysML diagrams, which will be the subject of the guest lecture in Module 3.

A software modeling tool with team support collaboration, MagicDraw is used by engineers, programmers, business analysts, and others to facilitate the design and analysis of object oriented systems and databases. The tool’s teamwork server allows multiple developers to work on the same model at the same time, enabling collaboration and not only providing controlled access to artifacts, but also simple configuration management.

Students can access the new tool through the JHU SE Tool Community via the Community tab in the course Canvas site. 

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each class will take approximately 4–7 hours per week to complete: reading the assigned material (approximately1–2 hours per week), listening to the audio-annotated slide presentations (approximately 2–3 hours per week), and doing homework assignments (approximately 1–2 hours per week).

This course will consist of four basic student requirements:

  1. Post-Lecture Discussions and "Ungraded" Homework Assignments (10% of Final Grade Calculation)

Each student is responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for discussion. Most lecture modules include one or more discussion questions, which are intended to substitute for discussions that occur naturally during live classes.  Each student is expected to post a response to each discussion question before the end of the module week.

The instructors will monitor class discussions and will respond to some of the discussions as discussions are posted. In some instances, the instructors will summarize the overall discussions and post the summary for the class.

Late entry of responses to discussion questions will result in a deduction of 15% per week (pro-rated) of the grade for that week’s discussion question (i.e., only about 0.1% per week of the Final Grade Calculation), up to a maximum of 3 weeks.  However, if any assigned discussion question response is not provided by the last day of the course, a grade of zero will be assigned for that discussion question.

Timely completion of the “ungraded” homework assignments will also be considered as part of this grade.

  1. Assignments (30% of Final Grade Calculation)

Reading assignments will be important sources of material for your homework assignments and class project.

In preparing your written assignments, please put the class assignment number and your name on each assignment, even though it will also be submitted electronically. The purpose of the homework is to give the students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the course concepts.

All assignments are due according to the dates in the Calendar and Assignments items in the corresponding modules.

Late submissions will be reduced by one letter grade (15 points) for each week late (no exceptions without prior coordination with the instructors), up to a maximum deduction of 45 points.  However, if an assignment is not submitted by the last day of the course, a grade of zero will be assigned for that assignment.


  1. Class Project (20% of Final Grade Calculation)

A class project will be assigned several weeks into the course and will be presented in class near the end of the course.

The class project is evaluated by the following grading elements:

    1. Differential Equation model (30%)
    2. Translation of Differential Equation Model into SIMULINK (30%)
    3. Analysis of results (20%)
    4. Presentation (20%)
Class Project is graded as follows:

100–85: The project is composed of at least two types of systems (e.g., it has a thermal and a fluid component) and the interaction between them is significant, the differential equation models are correctly derived, the differential equation models are correctly translated into SIMULINK and the interfaces between the system types are correct, the simulation is run over a reasonable set of input parameters or conditions, and the results are analyzed and presented in a professional-quality discussion.

84.9 - 70: The project is composed of at least two types of systems (e.g., it has a thermal and a fluid component) and the interaction between them is significant, the differential equation models are correctly derived, the differential equation models are translated into SIMULINK with minor errors, or the interfaces between the system types have errors, the simulation is run over a reasonable set of input parameters or conditions, and the results are analyzed and presented in a professional-quality discussion.

69.9 - 55: The project is composed of at least two types of systems (e.g., it has a thermal and a fluid component) and the interaction between them is significant, the differential equation models may have minor errors, the differential equation models are translated into SIMULINK with errors, or the interfaces between the system types are not modeled, the simulation is run over a reasonable set of input parameters or conditions, or the results are analyzed and presented with few errors.

The midterm exam will be available at the beginning of module 7 week. The final exam will be available at the beginning of module 14 week. Each exam will be timed, and must be completed within 1.5 hours of starting (with an additional 10 minutes allowed to download and submit the exam).  Students may take each exam in any 1.5-hour period during the module week. Students may use the course notes to complete the exams.

The amount and quality of a student’s class participation will be considered in deciding final grades in borderline situations. Final grades will be determined by the weighting below, with one exception. A final course grade of “F” will be assigned if a student fails to turn in any single assignment, regardless of grades achieved in other assignments, unless arrangements for an "Incomplete" grade have been made with the instructors before the last day of the course.


% of Grade

Post-Lecture Discussion Participation


Homework Assignments


Class Project


Midterm Exam


Final Exam


Grading Policy

EP uses a +/- grading system (see “Grading System”, Graduate Programs catalog, p. 10).

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-95= A+
94.9-90= A
89.9-85= A−
84.9-80= B+
79.9-75= B
74.9-70= B−
69.9-65= C+
64.9-60= C
59.5-55= C−
54.9-50= D+
49.9-45= D
<45= F

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.