A talk at the 2017 ESSA SiLiCo Summer school in Wageningen.
Slides at: https://www.slideshare.net/BruceEdmonds/model-purpose-and-complexity
This discusses some different purposes for a
simulation model and the consequences of this in terms of its
development, checking and justification. It also looks at how complex one's model should be.
Connected to this is a draft of a paper:
How one builds, checks, validates and interprets a model depends on its ‘purpose’. This is true even if the same model is used for different purposes, which means that a model built for one purpose but now used for another may need to be re-checked, re-validated and maybe even rebuilt in a different way. Here we review some of the different purposes for building a simulation model of complex social phenomena, focussing on five in particular: theoretical exposition, prediction, explanation, description and illustration. The chapter looks at some of the implications in terms of the ways in which the intended purpose might fail. In particular, it looks at the ways that a confusion of modelling purposes can fatally weaken modelling projects, whilst giving a false sense of their quality. This analysis motivates some of the ways in which these ‘dangers’ might be avoided or mitigated.
This is a draft of the text that will be in the next edition of, due this year 2017.
Edmonds, B. & Meyer, R. (2013) Simulating Social Complexity – a handbook. Springer. (Publisher's Page)
The text of this draft is at: http://cfpm.org/file_download/178/Five+Different+Modelling+Purposes.pdf