In this paper we describe a new simulation platform for heterogeneous distributed systems comprised of small programmable objects (e.g., wireless sensor networks) and traditional networked processors. Simulating such systems is complicated because of the need to coordinate compilers and simulators, often with very different interfaces, options, and fidelities.
Our platform (which we call ADAPT) is a flexible and extensible environment that provides a highly scalable simulator with unique characteristics. While the platform provides advanced functionality such as real-time simulation monitoring, custom topologies and scenarios, mixing real and simulated nodes, etc., the effort required by the user and the impact to her code is minimal. We here present its architecture, the most important design decisions, and discuss its distinct features and functionalities. We integrate our simulator to the Sun SPOT platform to enable simulation of sensing applications that employ both low-end and high-end devices programmed with different languages that are internetworked with heterogeneous technologies. We believe that ADAPT will make the development of applications that use small programmable objects more widely accessible and will enable researchers to conduct a joint research approach that combines both theory and practice.