Four different modelling paradigms covered

Course subject(s) Module 5: Modelling Complexity

Modelling has been done for decades, even centuries is one defines modelling broad enough. Of course, several decades ago, let’s say back in the 1970s, it didn’t involve a lot of technology. At least not the technology we know today. Back in the day, many were disappointed by the fact that modelling a person was quite tough to do, if not impossible. The simulations (i.e., dynamic models, the models put into action) of that time didn’t do justice to the intricacies of human beings. Some people thought, well then, why not simply have people play around with those models? If we can’t model them, then why not just include them? That indeed proved to be a good idea, which led to the birth of what was called gaming simulation, a form of simulation that actually looked a lot like a game (a board game, or role-playing game, in fact), because of the people that were incorporated into it.

Of course, since then technology has developed tremendously. Modelling and simulation also continued to develop, both thanks to and regardless of technological development. We will shed light on four pertinent developments in modelling and simulation, as shown on the right. The possibilities of using more and more advanced modelling techniques and their resulting simulations in combination with actual human players remains attractive. This is why gaming simulation is still of interest to many people, although some of them nowadays like to refer to it with different names, most notably serious gaming.

Four  different kinds of modelling will be discussed this week. Since these techniques are based on different assumptions, some people actually prefer to call them paradigms rather than techniques. In any case, we think and hope you will find all of them useful for understanding how complex infra-systems behave. Enjoy!

Modelling paradigms covered

Gaming Simulation
Discrete-event Modelling & Simulation
System Dynamics Modelling & Simulation
Agent-based Modelling & Simulation

Give it a try

But before we move on to modelling technology in the upcoming sections, let’s first have a look at a real model in section 5.2 and experience what you can do with it.

Questions for pondering

 If you watch the web lectures on different modelling techniques in the next sections then reflect on:

  • When would I use this technique? For what purpose? 
  • Do I understand  the difference in paradigm? 
  • Which type of problems can be analyzed with this technique?
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