Trace input mode

In the trace input mode, the simulator automatically chooses transitions as well as time transition durations, based on a user provided trace file.

Trace file

If the trace input mode is used, the Trace input file option (Input category) can be used to specify the path to the trace file. If the path is not explicitly specified, the input CIF file path is used, where the .cif file extension is removed if present, and a .trace file extension is added.

The trace file uses a line based file format. Leading (at the beginning of the line) and trailing (at the end of the line) whitespace is ignored. Empty lines as well as lines starting with a hash character (#) are ignored as well. Lines starting with a hash character can be used as comment lines. All other lines contain commands.

There are two types of commands: option commands and non-option commands. The option commands must always be before the non-option commands.

Option commands

All option commands use the option NAME VALUE syntax, where NAME is the name of the option, and VALUE is the value of the option. Option commands must be specified in the trace file, before any other (non-option) commands. The remainder of this section explains the available options.

  • option strict on/off (default off)

    The strict option can be used to specify whether a strict match is expected for an event. If strict mode is on (option strict on), it is considered an error if more than one transition is possible for an event from the trace. If strict mode is off (option strict off), and there are multiple possible transitions for an event from the trace, the automatic input component is asked to choose between those possible transitions for that single event, based on its own configuration. The strict option applies only to events, not time delays.

  • option time off/implicit/explicit (default implicit)

    The time option can be used to specify the time mode to use. If the time mode is off (option time off) , time passage is not allowed. That is, time delays/transitions are never chosen, and the value of variable time remains zero during the entire simulation. For this mode, the time command is not allowed.

    If the time mode is implicit (option time implicit), time delays are chosen if necessary. The simulator will use the least amount of time passage possible, to still enable the events as specified in the trace. In other words, if an event is possible no time delays occur, and otherwise the simulator delays for as long as is needed until the event becomes enabled. For this mode, the time command is not allowed.

    If the time mode is explicit (option time explicit), time delays are only possible if the time command explicitly allows time passage.

Transition commands

The transition commands can be used to specify the actual trace itself, to choose specific transitions. The following commands are available:

  • event NAME

    The event command indicates that an event transition should be taken. The event to choose is indicated by the NAME part, which must be an absolute name of an event. For an automaton a with an event e, NAME must be a.e, and the full command would thus be event a.e.

    If CIF textual syntax keyword are used as names for events (such as plant), then they must be escaped in .cif files (e.g. $plant). For event commands however, no escape characters ($) should be used in event names.

    If the specified event is not enabled in the current state, the simulator checks whether time passage is allowed and possible. For the off time mode, time passage is not allowed, and the simulation results in deadlock. For the implicit time mode, the simulator delays if a time transition is possible, and otherwise simulation results in deadlock. For the explicit time mode, if the current event command was preceded by an explicit time command, the simulator delays if a time transition is possible, and otherwise (current command not preceded by time command or no time transition possible) simulation results in deadlock. Upon deadlock, simulation ends, and a warning is printed to the console to indicate the event that was not enabled.

    If multiple transitions are possible for the event, due to non-determinism, the strict option (see above) determines if and how the simulator proceeds.

  • time

    The time command explicitly indicates that time is allowed to pass, i.e. the simulator may delay by choosing a time transition. This command is only allowed for the explicit time mode.

    The time command does not ensure that time passes. It specifies that time passage is allowed, not that it is required. Specifying the time command multiple times without an intermediate event command has the same effect as specifying the time command only once. That is, it doesn’t matter how many times you allow time passage, once is enough.

The trace input mode does not support undo and reset.


The commands from the trace file are processed in the order they occur in the trace file. After all commands have been used to select transitions, and no more commands are available, the simulation ends. The simulator indicates the simulation has terminated at the request of the user, as the user did not include any more commands in the trace file.

Simulation is also terminated if deadlock occurs or the user-specified simulation end time is reached, even if more (unprocessed) commands are still available.