Vlab: Frequently Asked Questions

This is a collection of frequently asked questions by users of RWTH’s VLab infrastructure.

What can I do with Vlab?

Vlab facilities complex power simulations in your web-browser. It is based on DPsim a high performance C++ solver for the electromagnetic transient (EMT) and dynamic phasor (DP) domain.

The DPsim solver provides a Python API which can be used to model, execute and analyse custom simulation scenarios.

DPsim is a solver library for dynamic power system simulation:

  • It supports both the electromagnetic transient (EMT) and dynamic phasor (DP) domain for dynamic simulation.
  • A powerflow solver is included standalone usage or initialization of dynamic simulations.
  • It provides a Python module which can be embedded in any Python 3 application / scripts.
  • The simulation core is implemented in highly-efficient C++ code.
  • It supports real-time execution with time-steps down to 50 uS.
  • It can load models in the IEC61970 Common Information Model (CIM) XML format.
  • It can be interfaced to a variety of protocols and interfaces via VILLASnode.

How do I login to RWTH’s Vlab?

Use this link to access the Vlab infrastructure.

After providing a few details in the user questionnaire your will be forwarded to the login page of Vlab.

To login, an account on ERIGrids Single Sign-on server is needed.
You can easily create one or use your existing GitHub or Google accounts.

Which technologies power Vlab?

RWTH’s Vlab infrastructure is powered by:

  • DPsim as our open-source simulation kernel
  • Python for scripting and analysis
  • JupyterLab
  • JupyterHub A multi-user hub for managing Jupyter Lab instances
  • Kubernetes as a container orchestration platform
  • OpenStack for virtualisation and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) layer
  • Hardware A 13-node cluster of Dell PowerEdge servers

I want to learn more about the tools behind Vlab

All code used to run Vlab is released under an open source license.
(Yes. This applies to every line of code: from the operating system which powers the cluster to our examples).

You can find the source code repositories at the links from the previous answer.

Which requirements are needed for using Vlab?

  • A web-browser
  • A working mail address or an GitHub / Google account

What is SLEW?

SLEW is an acronym for “Second Life for Energiewende”.

It is a running research project by RWTH’s Institute Automation for Complex Systems.
Technology-wise it shares the same foundation as RWTH’s Vlab Virtual Access infrastructure.

Project Abstract

The energy system is going towards a significant transformation, in Germany identified with the term “Energiewende”. This transformation is making the system more complex and then understanding phenomena and interactions is coherently getting more challenging for the students. On top of that, a real experimental activity is not possible because it is unthinkable to “play” with the real electrical grids for obvious reasons of security and safety.

Main purpose of the SLEW project is to exploit a new real-time simulation tool, DPSim, developed in RWTH and available as Open Source to the power engineering community. The goal is to extend this research tool to become a useful support for teaching purposes so that the students will have anytime and anywhere the possibility to perform experiment in the virtual infrastructure and to learn from the execution of complex models. The aspiration is to create a large virtual power engineering world where complex interactions may happen at different level and always in real time. The current project will fully deliver such a concept to one class module and will facilitate the transitions for other modules in the long term.