Over the past year and a half we have been working with the EE department of IIT Bombay in creating a easy to use GUI for their Sequel circuit simulator. I have had an opportunity to work with Prof. Patil and Prof. Chandolkar of EE Department IIT Bombay. One of the things anyone will notice in them is that they are exceptionally brilliant and at the same time completely simple and down-to-earth.
Coming back to Sequel simulator. When we started working on creating a GUI for them, they had a simulator that would accept the description of a power-electronics circuit via a “circuit file” and generate the output in “data files”. These data files were then read using some sort of plotting program like “gnu-plot” and the results were studied.
What they wanted was a GUI in which they could drag-and-drop circuit elements into a canvas, connect them, configure them, create and edit simulation scenarios and run the simulation. After the simulation is complete, the user should be able to observe the output within the GUI itself.
GUI for Sequel (which we call SequelGUI) project started in March of 2007. By then GCF was almost ready. VTK Designer 2 wasyet to take shape, but the component framework was more or less done. So we decided to use GCF for SequelGUI also. We took some time to get to a stage where the GUI could be used to create ciircuit files and input it to the simulator and then visualize the output using Qwt based plots. Once we crossed that, we worked on making the UI look interesting. As a result of all the work, this is what we have now 🙂 [Click on the image to view a larger screenshot]
As you can see we have used many of the standard GCF components in SequelGUI. PropertyEditor, StdMainWindow, MessageLog to name a few. Thats one of the kick-ass advantages of GCF – “reusability”. SequelGUI can now be used to create some fairly large circuits. For example: [Click on the image to view a larger screenshot]
Once the simulation is done, the user can study the output in a Qwt-based GraphSystem component. [Click on the image to view a larger screenshot]
We are still working on a few minor aspects here and there, but the GUI is usable. Prof. Patil has been conducting classes in IITB, engineering colleges and conferences all over India demonstrating the simulator and GUI. I have a feeling that, with his effort, most EE students in India will begin using the tool. That will be a happy day for us; and me personally. I get great kicks out of knowing that a product that I worked on will be used by a large number of people.
For more information about the project you can visit: http://www.ee.iitb.ac.in/~peps/downloads.html. They have not announced the availability of the GUI yet, but they will in time. Two people that I want to thank for this project, Prof. Chandolkar and Prof. Patil.