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OpenMCx build

OpenMCx is an extendable, tool-neutral co-simulation framework based on Modelica standards with the goal of supporting advanced simulation applications with a heterogenous toolchain in a distributed collaborative development process. It provides a flexible way of combining simulation models from different vendors and sources into one co-simulation model which can also be executed in a scalable computing environment.

With its component-based architecture, OpenMCx provides an easy way to integrate simulation models from different vendors via:

The definition and parameterization of OpenMCx models is based on the SSP - System Structure and Parameterization standard which can also be easily extended thanks to its annotation concept.

OpenMCx was designed as generic as possible to support a wide range of application areas. As it was made publicly available as part of the OpenADx initiative, one of its most interesting application areas is the virtual validation of ADAS/AD functions, but it is not restricted to that area alone.

OpenMCx contains parts of AVL's open model integration and co-simulation platform - Model.CONNECT™. Both of them are being continuously developed and enhanced.

For a more comprehensive list of supported interfaces and planned extensions in OpenMCx take a look at Roadmap.

Getting Started

For a quick-start guide with Visual Studio Code, see Getting Started in Visual Studio Code.

To manually build OpenMCx, follow the instructions below:


In order to be able to build OpenMCx, the following tools must be installed:


  • gcc >= 8
  • CMake >= 3.14
  • Make
  • git
  • Python (2 or 3)


  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 or later
  • CMake >= 3.14
  • git
  • Python (2 or 3)


The build of OpenMCx needs the following libraries to be installed on the build machine:

  • libxml2
  • libzip
  • zlib

E.g., on Ubuntu, run

sudo apt install -y libxml2-dev zlib1g-dev libzip-dev

On Windows, build.bat automatically takes care of installing these dependencies using vcpkg.


Alternatively, the Dockerfile can be used to build an image that contains all prerequisites:

cd docker
docker build .

Similarly, a devcontainer.json is provided to automatically create a development container in Visual Studio Code (see Getting Started in Visual Studio Code for details).


OpenMCx uses cmake as its build system and uses python to process SSP schema files during the configuration. Convenience scripts are available to make the build process easier:





This will generate and install the OpenMCx executable (named openmcx in the install folder).

Note: cmake, make, git and python MUST be present on PATH when running the scripts listed above.


OpenMCx has one mandatory argument - the model definition file. The model is defined via SSP (see Model Definition). In particular, OpenMCx expects an unpacked SSP project and should be called with the corresponding .ssd file as its command line argument:


./install/openmcx -v ./examples/getting_started/model.ssd


.\install\openmcx.exe -v .\examples\getting_started\model.ssd

The -v is used to display debug log messages. Once the simulation is done, results will be available in the results folder of the current working directory.

The behavior of the openmcx executable can be tweaked via the following optional arguments:

  • --tempdir, -t - temporary directory used to store intermediate files (default: temp)
  • --resultdir, -r - directory where results will be stored (default: results)
  • --log, -L - log file (default: simulation.log)
  • --verbose, -v - enables debug logging (if enabled an additional log file named mcx_all.log will be created)
  • --enablegraphs, -g - generate a graphical representation of model dependencies (produces a .dot-file which can be processed via e.g. Graphviz or WebGraphviz)

Model Definition

OpenMCx models are defined via the SSP standard. Supported is a subset of the SSP standard as well as some OpenMCx-specific extensions. The extension mechanism provided by SSP is used in order to introduce necessary concepts that don't exist in the original SSP standard.

OpenMCx uses system structure description files (.ssd) as inputs describing the model structure and simulation parameters. SSP archives (.ssp) are not yet supported. Some other limitations can be found here.

All parts of the graphical model representation (geometry, graphical elements etc.) are ignored as they are not relevant for the simulation.


OpenMCx extends the SSP standard by defining additional MIME types and annotations.

In case the input SSD file does not use any of the OpenMCx specific extensions, OpenMCx will simulate the described model assuming reasonable defaults for simulation parameters that are out of SSP scope.


A few examples demonstrating OpenMCx specific SSP extensions can be found in examples with a short overview in examples/Readme. Most of the examples contain descriptive comments describing extensions of interest.

A simple model containing a Constant connected to an FMU (Getting Started) would look like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<SystemStructureDescription xmlns=""
                            name="Getting Started"
    <System name="Root">
            <!-- definition of OpenMCx built-in component -->
            <!-- source is empty as the signal generator doesn't have a source file/model -->
            <!-- a custom MIME type is used -->
            <Component name="Constant" source="" type="application/avl-mcx-constant">
                    <Connector name="out" kind="output">
                            <!-- custom annotation for defining OpenMCx specific port data -->
                            <ssc:Annotation type="com.avl.model.connect.ssp.port"
                                    <!-- disable storing values of the port into the result files -->
                                    <mc:Real writeResults="false"/>

                    <!-- custom annotation for defining OpenMCx specific component data -->
                    <!-- each component might have custom specific data depending on the implementation -->
                    <ssc:Annotation type="com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component.constant"
                            <!-- the first connector of the constant will produce the value 3.0 -->
                            <mc:Real value="3.0"/>

            <Component name="FMU" source="../../external_data/gain.fmu" type="application/x-fmu-sharedlibrary">
                    <Connector name="out" kind="output">
                            <ssc:Annotation type="com.avl.model.connect.ssp.port"
                                <!-- nameInModel is the name of connector in the underlying source -->
                                <!-- while interacting with the underlying source, OpenMCx will -->
                                <!-- use the nameInModel -->
                                <mc:Port nameInModel="real_out">
                    <Connector name="in" kind="input">
                            <ssc:Annotation type="com.avl.model.connect.ssp.port"
                                <mc:Port nameInModel="real_in">
                                    <!-- default value used if nothing if the input is not connected -->
                                    <mc:Real default="8.0"/>

            <Connection startElement="Constant" startConnector="out" endElement="FMU" endConnector="in" />

    <DefaultExperiment startTime="0.0" stopTime="10.0">
            <!-- additional OpenMCx specific simulation parameters -->
            <ssc:Annotation type="com.avl.model.connect.ssp.task"
                <!-- sequential execution of component steps -->
                <!-- synchronization time step size of 0.001 -->
                <!-- simulation will end when the stopTime is reached -->
                <mc:Task stepType="sequential" deltaTime="0.001" endType="end_time"/>

MIME types

OpenMCx defines additional MIME types, besides the standard application/x-fmu-sharedlibrary one:

  • application/avl-mcx-integrator
  • application/avl-mcx-vector-integrator
  • application/avl-mcx-constant


In order to extend SSP to support the definition of additional simulation and component parameters, the annotations mechanism provided by SSP is used.

OpenMCx specific annotations can be defined for the following SSP elements:

  • Component

    1. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component
    2. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component.results
    3. MIME type specific:
      • com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component.fmu

      • com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component.integrator

      • com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component.vector_integrator

      • com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component.constant

  • System (not root)

    1. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.component
  • Connector

    1. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.port
    2. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.parameter
    3. MIME type specific:
      • com.avl.model.connect.ssp.parameter.fmu
  • Connection

    1. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.connection
    2. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.connection.decoupling
    3. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.connection.inter_extrapolation
  • DefaultExperiment

    1. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.task
    2. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.results
    3. com.avl.model.connect.ssp.config

More information about these annotations can be deduced from the XML schema files in scripts/SSP.

Unit Definitions

OpenMCx supports internal unit conversions. The list of units is automatically taken from the Units element in the input .ssd file.

Extending OpenMCx

Thanks to its modular design, it is easy to extend different parts of OpenMCx. Custom result formats, step types, components or any other part of it can be implemented according to ones needs.

Defining Custom Components

The most common extension is the definition of components in order to support new tools/interfaces. The definition of a new component includes the following steps:

  1. A new ComponentType needs to be defined in the following files:
  2. A new component needs to be derived from the Component class. The implementation of the new component class differs from component to component, but the interface that needs to be implemented is the same and defined in Component.h. An example component implementation can be found in:
  3. Intermediate input representation classes need to be implemented for the new component. They store the data available in the input file and make it available to the rest of the framework. An example intermediate representation implementation can be found in:
  4. The reading of the intermediate representation based on the given input file needs to be implemented by extending the following files:
  5. The newly defined component needs to be registered in the ComponentFactory:
  6. In case the component implementation introduced new directories with source files, it might also be necessary to accordingly modify:





OpenMCx is licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0.









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