SimGrid  3.16
Versatile Simulation of Distributed Systems
Extending SimGrid

How to add a new model?

The figure below shows the architecture of the SURF layer. This layer is composed of different kinds of models representing the different systems we want to model (i.e., cpu, network, storage, workstation, virtual machine).

A model in SimGrid is composed of three classes: Model, Resource and Action (surf_interface.hpp).


Actually there are five kind of models: CpuModel, NetworkModel, WorkstationModel, WorkstationVMModel and StorageModel. For each kind of model, there is an interface (e.g.: cpu_interface.hpp) and some implementations (e.g.: cpu_cas01.hpp, cpu_ti.hpp).

The CPU model Cas01, for instance, is initialized by the function void surf_cpu_model_init_Cas01()

The different network models that are offered by simgrid are stored in the array that is defined as follows:

s_surf_model_description_t surf_network_model_description[] = {

How to implement a new model?

If you want to create a new implementation of a kind of model you must extend the classes of the corresponding interfaces.

For instance, if you want to add a new cup model called Plop, create two files cpu_plop.hpp and cpu_plop_cpp which contains classes CpuPlopModel, CpuPlop and CpuPlopAction implementating respectively the interfaces CpuModel, Cpu and CpuAction. You also need to define a initializing function like this:

void surf_cpu_model_init_plop()
surf_cpu_model_pm = new CpuPlopModel();

and add an entry in the corresponding array in surf_interface.cpp

"Simplistic CPU model (time=size/power).",
"The new plop CPU model.",
{NULL, NULL, NULL} // this array must be NULL terminated

How to add a new kind of model?

If you want to create a new kind of model, you must create a new interface where you extend the classes Model, Resource and Action, and then create an implementation of this interface.

How to use surf callbacks?

Adding features to surf could also be handle by using surf callbacks (instead of adding new implementation model). The list of available callbacks is accessible there SURF callbacks. An example of using surf callbacks is the energy plugin. If you want to add a plugin you need to define callback function and to connect them to callbacks handler in an initialization function.

static void MyNetworkLinkCreatedCallback(NetworkLinkPtr cpu){
// your code
static void MyNetworkLinkDestructedCallback(NetworkLinkPtr cpu){
// your code
static void MyNetworkCommunicationCallback(NetworkActionPtr cpu,
RoutingEdgePtr src,
RoutingEdgePtr dst){
// your code
void sg_my_network_plugin_init() {

Then you need to add an entry in surf_interface.cpp refering to your initialization function.

"Cpu energy consumption.",
"My network plugin.",
{NULL, NULL, NULL} // this array must be NULL terminated

How to add a new simcall?

First of all you might want to avoid defining a new simcall if possible: How to avoid adding a new simcall?.

A simcall is used to go from user mode to kernel mode. There is some sort of popping dance involved, as we want to isolate the user contextes from their environment (so that they can run in parallel and so that we can model-check them).

In short, just add a line to src/simix/ and run the src/simix/ script. It will guide you about how to implement your simcall. Please keep reading this section (only) if you want to understand how it goes.

The workflow of a simcall is the following:

  • <ret> simcall_<name>(<args>)
    • simcall_BODY_<name>(<args>)
      • Initializes the simcall (store the arguments in position)
      • If maestro, executes the simcall directly (and return)
      • If not, call SIMIX_process_yield to give back the control to maestro
      • ========== KERNEL MODE ==========
      • SIMIX_simcall_handle large switch (on simcall) doing for each:
        • simcall_HANDLER_<name>(simcall, <args>) (the manual code handling the simcall)
        • If the simcall is not marked as "blocking" in its definition, call SIMIX_simcall_answer(simcall) that adds back the issuer process to the list of processes to run in the next scheduling round. It is thus the responsability of the blocking simcalls to call SIMIX_simcall_answer(simcall) themselves in their handler.

Note that empty HANDLERs can be omitted. These functions usually do some parameter checking, or retrieve some information about the simcall issuer, but when there no need for such things, the handler can be omited. In that case, we directly call the function simcall_<name>(<args>).

To simplify the simcall creation, a python script generates most of the code and give helpers for the remaining stuff. That script reads the simcall definitions from src/simix/, checks that both simcall_<name>() and simcall_HANDLER() are defined somewhere, and generates the following files:

  • smx_popping_accessors.h: Helper functions to get and set simcall arguments and results
  • smx_popping_bodies.cpp: The BODY function of each simcall
  • smx_popping_enum.c: Definition of type enum e_smx_simcall_t (one value per existing simcall)
  • smx_popping_generated.cpp: Definitions of simcall_names[] (debug name of each simcall), and SIMIX_simcall_enter() that deals with the simcall from within the kernel

The file list all the simcalls in sections. A line starting by "##" define a new section which will be replace by a "ifdef" in the generated code.

How to avoid adding a new simcall?

We now have some generic simcalls which can be used to interface with the Maestro without creating new simcalls. You might want to use them instead of the defining additional simcalls. The long term goal is to replace most of the simcalls with the generic ones.

For simcalls which never block, kernelImmediate() can be used. It takes a C++ callback executes it in maestro. Any value returned by the callback is returned by kernelImmediate(). Conversely, if the callback throws an exception, this exception is propagated out of kernelImmediate(). Executing the code in maestro enforces mutual exclusion (no other user process is running) and enforce a deterministic order which guarantees the reproducibility of the simulation. This call is particularly useful for implementing mutable calls:

void Host::setProperty(const char*key, const char *value){
simgrid::surf::HostImpl* surf_host = this->extension<simgrid::surf::HostImpl>();

If there is no blocking and no mutation involved (getters), you might consider avoiding switching to Maestro and reading directly the data you're interested in.

For simcalls which might block, kernelSync() can be used. It takes a C++ callback and executes it immediately in maestro. This C++ callback is expected to return a simgrid::kernel::Future<T> reprensenting the operation in the kernal. When the operations completes, the user process is waken up with the result:

try {
std::vector<char> result = simgrid::simix::kernelSync([&] {
// Fictional example, simgrid::kernel::readFile does not exist.
simgrid::kernel::Future<std::vector<char>> result = simgrid::kernel::readFile(file);
return result;
XBT_DEBUG("Finished reading file %s: length %zu", file, result.size());
// If the operation failed, kernelSync() throws an exception:
catch (std::runtime_error& e) {
XBT_ERROR("Could not read file %s", file);

Asynchronous blocks can be implemented with kernelAsync(). It works like kernelSync() but does not block. Instead, it returns a simgrid::simix::Future representing the operation in the process:

// Fictional example, simgrid::kernel::readFile does not exist.
simgrid::kernek::Future<std::vector<char>> result = simgrid::kernel::readFile(file);
return result;
// Do some work while the operation is pending:
while (!result.is_ready() && hasWorkToDo())
// We don't have anything to do, wait for the operation to complete and
// get its value:
try {
std:vector<char> data = result.get();
XBT_DEBUG("Finished reading file %s: length %zu", file, data.size());
// If the operation failed, .get() throws an exception:
catch (std::runtime_error& e) {
XBT_ERROR("Could not read file %s", file);

Note: kernelSync(f) could be implemented as kernelAsync(f).get().

What is How to add a new tag for xml files?

You should not do something like that. Please work instead to make XML avoidable, ie to make the C++ interface nice and usable.