The component based SimBio environment will offer the ability for distributed,
heterogeneous execution of its components. The Common Object Request Broker
Architecture (CORBA) is the most appropriate client/server middleware for the
object-oriented implementation of the SimBio system.
CORBA provides a high
flexibility and enables the user to optimally exploit the computer resources
being at his disposal. A CORBA object bus defines the "shape" of the SimBio
components that reside within the bus and also fixes how these components
interoperate. Beyond interoperability CORBA specifies an extensive set of
bus-related services for creating and deleting objects, accessing them by name, externalising their states and defining ad hoc relationships between them. To make use of CORBA for SimBio an interface has to be specified for each component. These specifications are written in the Interface Definition Language (IDL) and define a component's boundary, i.e. a "contractual" interface with potential clients.
A particular example of the need for interacting components arises with
the simulation of prosthesis implant, where close interactive links between
the visualisation package, the material database, an external prosthesis
database and the bio-mechanical solvers are required. The portability of
CORBA will allow the SimBio-internal and SimBio-to-external interactions
to take place in a seamless manner. The platform-independence of this
approach is of decisive advantage in the clinical field as hospitals are
often equipped with very heterogeneous computer clusters.