AbstractsComputer Science

Coping with environmental complexity: a computer simulation methodology.

by John H.(John Harlan),1944- McDonald

Institution: University of Arizona
Year: 1973
Record ID: 1493424
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10150/191572


A voluntaristic model of "open system" man incorporating elements of choice and judgement, seems crucial to understanding and evaluating the many ways man organizes and orients himself in the natural world. To discover the meaning of man's environmental actions the model should include, in addition to a physical level, three social levels of analysis: (1) personal, (2) societal, and (3) cultural. Simulation models which incorporate one or more of these social levels will undoubtedly contain some variables and relationships which are subjectively determined. KSIM, a new simulation methodology/language is discussed and applied to a simulation of the U.S. population natural resource system. KSIM was originally developed to answer two problems suffered by most simulation models. First, they seldom incorporate variables of a subjective nature or those not easily quantified. Second, the technical complexity of most models and languages inhibits their use, understanding and acceptance by policy makers. KSIM allows the users to input their subjective judgements about objectively unknown relationships. The resulting simulated model is run for a specified time period thus allowing the users to analyze the results of their perceptions about the system. The desired result is a better insight into the real system through group discussions which collectively analyze and define the group's perceptions of that real system.