The dynamic behavior of processing systems exhibits both continuous and significant discrete aspects. Process simulation is therefore a combined discrete/continuous simulation problem. In addition, there is a critical need for a declarative process modeling environment to encompass the entire range of processing system operation, from purely continuous to batch. These issues are addressed by this article.

A new formal mathematical description of the combined discrete/continuous simulation problem is introduced to enhance the understanding of the fundamental discrete changes required to model processing systems. The modeling task is decomposed into two distinct activities: modeling fundamental physical behavior, and modeling the external actions imposed on this physical system. Both require significant discrete components. Important contributions include a powerful representation for discontinuities in physical behavior, and the first detailed consideration of how complex sequences of control actions may be modeled in a general manner.