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Difference between simulation and emulation

The terms Simulation and Emulation are usually used interchangeably. However, despite this, there is a well-defined difference between simulation and emulation. But when it reaches mobile automation, the difference becomes a bit sharp. In this article, you will get to know their differences, definition, and similarities.

What Is Simulation?

Simulation applies a mathematical description of a factual system in the pattern of a computer program. It is meant to predict the behavior of the outcome of a real-world or physical method. In real life scenario, we use computer simulations to examine the dynamic behavior of gadgets or systems. It is mainly because, in response to the situations where we cannot safely apply objects in real life.

Some examples of computer simulation modeling well-known to many of us include weather forecasting, flight simulators practiced by training pilots, car crash modeling, bike and rocket simulation games, etc.

What is Emulation?

Emulation defines the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate or duplicate another program or machine. Computer emulation is the process that generally enables the host system to administer software, use external devices designed for any guest system. A hardware emulator is such an emulator which implies the form of a hardware machine.

Examples include DOS-compatible cards, VMware, and Apple's Boot Camp.

Difference between Simulation and Emulation:

There are many differences between simulation and emulation. Among these, some are as follows:

Standards Simulation Emulation
Working Simulation is copying the abstract model of a particular computer system. Emulation is a process that allows one electronic system (computer) to have a similar working feature to that of other computer systems.
Aim The simulation aims to establish a practical & safe environment where we can test each attribute safely. Emulation aims to replicate the experience of using original hardware and/or software.
Performance Compared to emulators, simulators operate faster. It is slower due to dormancy since it includes binary translation.
Target area Simulation ventures the internal behavior of mobile devices. Emulation deals with the mobile device hardware, software, and operating system.
Internally Often, we use high-level language for developing simulators. Emulators are written primarily in machine-level or assembly language.

Apart from these above points, here are some more vital differences between simulator and emulator:

A simulator creates an environment that contains all of the software variables and configurations existing in an actual production environment. Despite this, simulators do not venture to emulate the hardware that will treat the application in creation.

We can implement simulators using high-level programming languages as they create only software environments. But an emulator attempts to mimic all of the hardware and software features of a production environment. Mostly, we need to write an emulator using assembly language to achieve this specialty.

On the other hand, simulators set up a comparable environment to the actual device's OS but do not simulate the original device's hardware. It may require some changes as some programs may run a little differently. Yet, it is a close approximation that we can apply most of our improvement against the simulator. Well, an emulator sounds a little better. In a sense, emulators can occupy the minimum ground between simulators and real devices.

Similarities between Simulation and Emulation:

Emulation and simulation assist a very vital role during the SDLC. It helps reduce costs to the developers and testers. They are more active to set up and administer, having lower error rates, already embedded in the developer’s context in most cases.

Moreover, it is feasible to use both simulators and emulators to run software experiments inside flexible, software-specified environments. And therefore, they allow us to operate inquiries more quickly and comfortably than we could if we had to fix the original hardware device.

Wrapping Up:

Hope this comprehension helped you understand the various critical concepts between simulation and emulation and their differences. An emulator can take the functionality of a system a step further by emulating the software & hardware configurations.  On the other hand, a simulator mimics a realistic imitation of the controls and operation in any system, allowing its users to give a virtual feel of the working and functionality. This type of differences is usually asked in many interview questions.