SoftLab: A virtual laboratory framework for computational science The new economic realities require the rapid prototyping of manufactured artifacts and rapid solutions to problems with numerous interrelated elements. In the SoftLab project, we investigate the issues involved in the design and implementation of a virtual laboratory that simulates and controls the functionality of a wet/dry prototyping laboratory. The 21st century prototyping laboratory environments will include: i) integrated view of the design, simulation, manufacturing, and training phases of the underlying prototyping process, ii) virtual environments capable of controlling both the experimental (physical) and computational (simulation) prototypes and their interactions, iii) knowledge based systems for handling the increasing amount of knowledge and data a designer must synthesize, compare, trade-off, and optimize, iv) numerical simulation systems that support the different possible models of the underlying physical process. In this paper we present a software framework for a virtual laboratory and report on our experiences in its design and implementation