Specify your problem

Course subject(s) 2. Improving the model

Specify your problem

In real life, someone else would have a specific problem and would hire you as consultants to solve it. For example, a steel mill wants to improve the quality of their rolled steel, and asks your engineering company how the settings of the steel rolls can be optimized. So in real life, there is already a specific problem, and you only have to ask the right questions to formulate the problem, and you can start modelling.

In this course, you are primarily meant to learn and practice and experiment, so you will start differently. You do not start with a specific problem; you start with a simple, general model. You and your team mate have already chosen one of the four problem areas. Below you will find the basic model you are going to start with, the starting set of differential equations.

Then you and your partner choose a context that interests  you. For example, if you have chosen the interacting populations, you could choose antelopes and lions in the Serengeti. For this context you specify the model: find parameter values that are appropriate for antelopes and lions in the Serengeti. And if you cannot find them readily, make an educated guess. On the page with your model, you’ll find some specific starting questions.

In Module 3 you will be working with part of the model (one of the differential equations), and in module 4, you will simulate the whole model. Keep in the back of your mind that after that, you should come up with an interesting practical problem that can be solved with this model.

In the next video, you see how Hans and Esmeé collected information and specified their problem.

Specify your problem

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Subtitles (captions) in other languages than provided can be viewed at YouTube. Select your language in the CC-button of YouTube.

Project tasks for Module 2

Your tasks for the project are to choose a context for the model, to collect information on that context, and do some preliminary calculations. Communicate throughout with your teammate, and make the important choices together or decide who chooses what. Document everything in your joint logbook.

In the next pages you find the basic model of your choice and a list of specific tasks to specify your model.

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Mathematical Modeling Basics by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/mathematical-modeling-basics/.
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