Unicode in Domain-Specific Programming Languages for Modeling & Simulation: ScalaTion as a Case Study

Michael E. Cotterell, John A. Miller, Tom Horton

As recent programming languages provide improved conciseness and flexibility of syntax, the development of embedded or internal Domain-Specific Languages has increased. The field of Modeling and Simulation has had a long history of innovation in programming languages (e.g. Simula-67, GPSS). Much effort has gone into the development of Simulation Programming Languages. The ScalaTion project is working to develop an embedded or internal Domain-Specific Language for Modeling and Simulation which could streamline language innovation in this domain. One of its goals is to make the code concise, readable, and in a form familiar to experts in the domain. In some cases the code looks very similar to textbook formulas. To enhance readability by domain experts, a version of ScalaTion is provided that heavily utilizes Unicode. This paper discusses the development of the ScalaTion DSL and the underlying features of Scala that make this possible. It then provides an overview of ScalaTion highlighting some uses of Unicode. Statistical analysis capabilities needed for Modeling and Simulation are presented in some detail. The notation developed is clear and concise which should lead to improved usability and extendibility.

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