COMPUTER- AIDED DECISIONS
“COMPUTER SIMULATION OF HUMAN THOUGHT”
What is Computer Simulation?
A computer simulation or a computer model is a computer program that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system. Computer simulations have become a useful part of mathematical modeling of many natural systems in physics, chemistry and biology, human systems in economics, psychology, and social science and in the process of engineering new technology, to gain insight into the operation of those systems. Traditionally, the formal modeling of systems has been via a mathematical model, which attempts to find analytical solutions to problems which enables the prediction of the behavior of the system from a set of parameters and initial conditions. Computer simulations build on, and are a useful adjunct to purely mathematical models in science, technology and entertainment. The reliability and the trust people put in computer simulations depends on the validity of the simulation model. Computer simulation is used to reduce the risk associated with creating new systems or with making changes to existing ones. More than ever, modern organizations want assurance that investments will produce the expected results. For instance, an assembly line may be required to produce a particular number of autos during an eight hour shift. Complex, interacting factors influence operation and so powerful tools are needed to develop an accurate analysis. Over the past few decades, computer simulation software, together with statistical analysis techniques have evolved to give decision makers tools equal to the task. As the world grows more technical and the need for precision becomes more important, the margin for error will continue to shrink. Business, industry, and governments cannot afford to make educated guesses during systems development. For that reason, computer simulation is more important than ever. Simulation models are a major tool for scientific enquiry; simulation methodology can even constitute a theory of social systems. Besides system dynamics, another simulation method mainly used to generate scientific knowledge is agent-based modeling, which we take as a second example here. In any case, it is important to have appropriate expectations of what models/simulations can do (e.g. understanding, prediction, forecasting, replication, learning, communication) since different simulation methods are good at different things. System dynamics has been criticized on fair and unfair grounds, but sometimes the basics of validation and validity has been ignored. Running appropriate validation tests is therefore a necessary condition for model acceptance, but it should be combined with smart communication strategies of insights and results. Of course, computer simulation models are also helpful in organizational decision-making processes because of the complexity of social systems and the limited cognitive capabilities of humans. However, sometimes projects go wrong; they don't produce a result, are ignored, or used for making the wrong decisions. So, if SD projects really should be successful, they must be seen as organizational interventions. This has some implications: (1) We need to understand what an intervention (process) is; and (2) how an intervention process can be structured in “intervention architecture"; (3) we must put some attention to the project aspects of modeling/simulation, like organizational diagnosis and stakeholder identification and (iv) the implementation of results. The Nature of Computer Simulation
Computer simulation can be classified as a branch applied mathematics. The use of computer simulation increased due to availability of computing power and improvements in programming languages. Added to this are inherent difficulties or even impossibilities to accurately describe complex real world systems using analytical or purely mathematical models. For these reasons, a...
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