User-defined plugins

Siconos proposes a ‘plugin’ system that allows users to provide their own function(s) to describe some specific behavior for some classes components.

For example, consider a lagrangian linear dynamical system, where \(M\ddot q + C \dot q + K q = F_{Ext}(t,z) + p\).

Suppose you want to set \(F_{Ext}(t,z) = cos(t)\), then you can define a C function to compute this cosine and ‘plug’ it to the dynamical system so that each time the system needs to compute its external forces, your cosine function will be called.

At the time, plug-in are available for DynamicalSystems and Relation. For both of them and for their derived classes, a list of the variables that can be plugged is given in ds_plugins and relation_plugins.

  • find the variable you want to plug and check what is the expected list of arguments for a function plugged to this variable (check ds_plugins or relation_plugins).

  • write a C function:

    extern "C" external_forces(double time, int size, double* fext, int zsize, double *z)
    for(int i=0;i<size;++i)
       (*fext)(i) = cos(time);
  • connect your function to the variable. For each ‘plugable’ variable, a setComputeVARNAMEFunction exists

ds->setComputeFExtFunction('myPlugin', 'external_forces');
// ...
// --> call external_forces with time == 2.

Plugins overview

plugins in siconos classes

Class Name


plugin name



\(g(\dot x, x, t, z)\)


(double time, int size, double* fext, int zsize, double *z)




(double time, int size, double* fext, int zsize, double *z)




(double time, int x_size, double *x, int lambda_size, double * lambda, double * y, int z_size, double * z)


Suppose that you defined a LagrangianDS named lds, and want to set two parameters in the external forces, say mu and lambda.

Then cpp input file looks like:

// In the main file:
double mu , lambda;
// ... give mu and lambda the required values
// ... declare and built your dynamical system
SP::DynamicalSystem lds(new LagrangianDS(...));
// Link with the plug-in function
lds->setComputeFExtFunction("", "myFExt");

// === First way, with setZ function (copy) ===
// declare and built a SimpleVector of size 2
SimpleVector myZ(2);
myZ(0) = mu;
myZ(1) = lambda;

// In this case, if parameters values are change after this step,
// this won't affect param values inside the dynamical system.
//=== Second way, with setZPtr function (pointer link) ===
// declare and built a pointer to SimpleVector of size 2
SP::SimpleVector myZPtr(new SimpleVector(2));
(*myZPtr)(0) = mu;
(*myZPtr)(1) = lambda;


// Warning: in that case, from this point any change in parameters
// will affect param value in the dynamical system.
// Then in the plug-in file, you have access to the parameter values:
extern "C" void myFExt(double time, unsigned int sizeOfq, double *fExt, unsigned int sizeOfZ, double *z)
for(unsigned int i = 0; i<sizeOfq;++i)
fExt[i] = cos(z[1]*time) + z[0] ;
// this means that Fext = cos(lambda t) + mu