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Compare Simulation Data

The Simulation Data Inspector can compare the data and metadata for runs and individual signals you import from the workspace or a file or log in a simulation. You can analyze comparison results using tolerances, and you can configure the comparison behavior by specifying signal properties and comparison constraints. This example uses data logged from simulations of the model slexAircraftExample and shows how to:

  • Compare signals and runs.

  • Analyze comparison results using the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector.

  • Specify signal tolerances and global tolerances.

  • Configure comparison constraints.

For more information on tolerance calculations and signal properties that affect comparisons, see How the Simulation Data Inspector Compares Data. To compare data programmatically, use the Simulink.sdi.compareRuns function or the Simulink.sdi.compareSignals function.


This example continues from Inspect Simulation Data. You can also use this script to generate the data required for the example.


% Configure signals to log
Simulink.sdi.markSignalForStreaming('slexAircraftExample/Pilot', 1, 'on')
Simulink.sdi.markSignalForStreaming('slexAircraftExample/Aircraft Dynamics Model', 3, 'on')
Simulink.sdi.markSignalForStreaming('slexAircraftExample/Aircraft Dynamics Model', 4, 'on')

% Change Pilot signal to sine
set_param('slexAircraftExample/Pilot', 'WaveForm', 'sine')

% Simulate model

% Change Pilot signal to square
set_param('slexAircraftExample/Pilot', 'WaveForm', 'square')

% Simulate Model

Compare Signals

You can compare signals to analyze the relationship between two signals in a model. For example, compare the Stick input signal to the output signal, alpha, rad.

  1. Navigate to the Compare pane.

  2. To view a list of signals available for comparison, expand the Baseline drop-down and select Signals.

    Baseline selection menu for comparisons.

  3. Select Stick (Run 1: slexAircraftExample).

  4. Expand the Compare to drop-down and select alpha, rad (Run 1: slexAircraftExample).

  5. Click Compare.

Alternatively, you can select the Baseline and Compare to signals using the context menu by right-clicking the signal in the Inspect pane.

The signals are not identical, so they do not match within the absolute, relative, and time tolerances, all set to 0 by default.

Signal comparison results displayed on the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector.

Signal Time Tolerance

Looking at the top plot in the comparison view, you can see the alpha, rad signal lags the Stick signal. For signal comparisons, the Simulation Data Inspector uses tolerance values specified for the Baseline signal. Add a time tolerance to the Stick signal to account for the lag.

Select the Stick signal and enter 0.5 in the Time Tolerance field of the Properties pane. When you specify a tolerance for a Baseline signal, its Override Global Tolerance field automatically changes to yes. When you click away from the Time Tolerance field, the comparison runs again, using the signal-level tolerance you specified. If you want to use global tolerance values for the signal, click the Override Global Tolerance field and select no from the drop-down.

The Simulation Data Inspector draws the tolerance band around the plotted Baseline signal and around the signed difference signal displayed in the bottom subplot. The bar along the top of the difference plot shows regions within tolerance and out of tolerance for the comparison in green and red.

Signal comparison results after applying a time tolerance displayed on the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector.

Signal Magnitude Tolerance

The time tolerance covers the phase difference between the two signals, but the comparison still includes regions out of tolerance due to the amplitude difference. You can add a magnitude tolerance as either an Absolute Tolerance or Relative Tolerance.

To add an absolute tolerance to the Stick signal, enter 0.05 into the Absolute Tolerance field in the properties pane. With the combination of the absolute and time tolerances, the signal comparison passes.


The Simulation Data Inspector draws the tolerance region using the most lenient interpretation of the specified tolerances for each point. For more information on how the Simulation Data Inspector calculates the tolerance band, see Tolerance Specification.

Signal comparison results after applying a time tolerance and absolute tolerance displayed on the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector.

Compare Runs

You can also use the Simulation Data Inspector to compare all the signals in a run to all the signals in another run. Run comparisons can provide useful information about the effects of changing model parameters. For example, change the frequency cutoff of the filter for the control stick input signal. Then, evaluate the effect on the logged signals using the Simulation Data Inspector.

  1. To access the data in the model workspace, on the Modeling tab, under Design, click Model Explorer.

  2. Click the arrow next to the model name and select Model Workspace.

  3. Change the value of Ts from 0.1 to 1 and close the Model Explorer.

  4. Simulate the model with the new filter.

  5. In the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector, expand the Baseline drop-down, and select Runs.

  6. From the list of runs, select Run 2: slexAircraftExample.

  7. Expand the Compare to drop-down and select Run 3: slexAircraftExample.

  8. Click Compare.

The Compare pane lists all signals from the compared runs and summarizes the results of the comparison in the Results column. In this example, all three signals aligned, and none matched. You can click More to see the reason each signal comparison did not match. All three signals are out of tolerance.

Comparison results summary on the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector.


The Simulation Data Inspector only compares signals from the Baseline run that align with a signal from the Compare To run. If a signal from the Baseline run does not align with a signal from the Compare To run, the signal is listed in the Compare pane with a warning. For more information on signal alignment, see Signal Alignment.

To plot a comparison result, select the signal you want to view in the Compare pane. For example, select the result for the q, rad/sec signal. The top plot shows the q, rad/sec signals from the Baseline and Compare To runs. The bottom plot shows the difference between the signals and the calculated tolerance band.

Run comparison results displayed on the Compare pane in the Simulation Data Inspector. The plots display data for the selected signal, q, rad/sec signal.

Global Tolerances

To analyze the signals in the run comparison, you can specify global tolerances. To specify global tolerances, click More. Under Global Tolerances, enter 0.75 for the time tolerance and 0.075 for the absolute tolerance.

Comparison options menu in the Simulation Data Inspector.

Click the Compare button to run the comparison. The Simulation Data Inspector plots the tolerance band around the Baseline signal and on the signed difference plot. With the new tolerance values, the Stick and q, rad/sec signals pass the comparison.

Run comparison results after specifying global tolerance values.

View the alpha, rad signal to analyze the out of tolerance regions in the comparison result. Click the arrow buttons in the toolbar to navigate through the out of tolerance regions. Two cursors on the plot show the beginning and end of the first out of tolerance region. You can use your keyboard arrows to explore the signal and tolerance values throughout each out of tolerance region. To view the next out of tolerance region, click the right arrow button in the tool strip.

Cursors highlight the second out-of-tolerance region on the plot of the comparison results for the alpha, rad signal.

To resolve the out of tolerance regions, you can choose to modify the global tolerance values or to add a signal-specific tolerance to the alpha, rad signal using the signal properties.

Configure Comparison Constraints

You can also apply constraints to comparisons that affect whether the result is a match or mismatch. For example, you can specify that the time vectors for signals must match in order for the result to be a match. To specify the constraint, click More, then select Signal time vectors must match. To run a new comparison with this constraint, click Compare.

The comparison results show all signal results as mismatches now. The time vectors do not match for any of the signals because they were logged from simulations of a model that uses a variable-step solver, and the conditions changed between simulations. When the comparison result is a mismatch due to a constraint, the Simulation Data Inspector does not compute results for that signal. When you select a signal, the plot area shows an explanation of why the signal result is a mismatch.

Mismatch comparison result for the alpha, rad signal when the comparison is configured with a constraint that signal time vectors must match.

You can configure these comparison constraints:

  • Signal data types must match

  • Signal start and stop times must match

  • Signal time vectors must match

When you require a match in signal metadata, specifying a constraint can return a mismatch result more quickly because the comparison does not compute results when the specified metadata does not match.

You can also configure a comparison to stop computing results after detecting the first mismatch result. When you configure a comparison to stop on the first mismatch, the comparison always stops after detecting the first mismatch in the signal metadata. You can also choose to stop the comparison when the first mismatch result is due to an out-of-tolerance result when comparing the signal data.

The Simulation Data Inspector always aligns signals in the baseline and comparison runs and always checks whether signal units match. When you configure a comparison to stop on the first mismatch, signals that do not align and signals with units that do not match always cause a comparison to stop. You can specify additional metadata for the comparison to check by selecting one or more constraints.

Cancel Comparisons

The runs and signals used in this example are relatively small, and comparisons run quickly. When you compare long signals or runs containing many signals, comparisons may take more time. The Simulation Data Inspector displays incremental progress indicators during comparison, and the Compare button becomes a Cancel button you can click to cancel the comparison at any point. For hierarchical data, the Results column in the comparison view summarizes the results on each hierarchical node.

Comparison results summary for a run comparison that contains many signals and is still in progress.

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