The natural and man-made environment we live in is complex. This complexity is the result of both countless entities and countless interactions between these entities that together form the environment and its dynamics. As a result, we cannot express or explain the world as a whole. But even (very small) sub-components of this environment still bear a complexity well beyond our cognitive abilities. One approach to deal with this dilemma is to build descriptive models for well-defined sub-sets of the environment and equally well-defined research questions. In this module we will learn how to descriptively model some aspects of real-world systems and how to perform simulations.
The individual sessions can be grouped into three sections:
The course has 1 session per week, 3 hours per session.
|1||Systems, models, simulations|| Models
Systems and boundaries
|2||Graphical modeling|| Word model
Causal loop diagram
Stock & flow diagram
|3||Integration|| Graphical integration
|4||Computer-based modeling||Intro to Vensim|
|5||In-depth example 1|| Predator-prey model
(the all-time classic)
|6||In-depth example 2|| Forest growth model
|7||Tragedy of the commons 1||Common resource exploration|
|8||Tragedy of the commons 2||Sustainable resource use|
|9||Decision support||Fish pond system|
|10||CO2 dynamics 1/2|| Components of the CO2 balance
Analysis of a CO2 balance model
|11||CO2 dynamics 2/2|
|12||Crop farming 1/2|| Components of the farming system
Analysis of a farming model
|13||Crop farming 2/2|| Sensitivity studies
This course has been inspired by and partly adapted from the excellent Road Maps course from the system dynamics group of J. W. Forrester, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology [Forrester1998]. This is especially the case for some working sheet structures and reading suggestions of the introductory sessions.