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on June 5, 2002
The book is extremely well written and is so far the best attempt by any author(s)to achieve the right mix of theory and practice in the field of system dynamics. The organization of contents of the book is unique and it highlights the potential use of system dynamics principles for modeling a variety of hydro, ecological, environmental and engineered systems. The principles of system dynamics modeling and the complexities of physical systems are clearly explained by the authors and real-world examples from a number of disciplines are provided. Modelers can benefit from the actual code/examples from the simulation modeling environment, STELLA. The book includes a CD-ROM with all the examples/models discussed in the text to enhance the learning experience of modelers.
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on June 20, 2003
This is an excellent book for beginning and intermediate modelers. I found it to be engaging, practical, and easy to understand. Dynamic modeling has become an essential tool to facilitate understanding developments in our increasingly complex and interdependent world, to communicate ideas across disciplinary boundaries, and to help solve problems. This book is a great place to begin. It offers a hands-on introduction to dynamic modeling.
The authors start with an easy to understand, step-by-step description of the modeling process, key principles of modeling, and general methods of modeling. This is followed-up with and numerous examples from chemistry, genetics, ecology, economics, and engineering. But this is not just a book to read. The book comes with run-time versions of the easy to learn STELLA and Madonna software as well as copies of the various models developed in each of the 37 chapters.
The authors encourage readers to build the models themselves as they work through the chapters, and then explore the dynamics by experimenting with the models. This is an active, fun way to learn. It definitely helped me to expand my systems thinking capability. Although my substantive interest is organizations, I learned a great deal by analogy from working through models of problems from other disciplines. Basic systems principles apply across disciplines, and useful insights can be gleaned from recognizing similar dynamic structures underlying different systems.
I particularly liked the instruction by example that is used throughout this book. I learned so much from this book because the reading and modeling, modeling and reading formed a positive feedback loop. The reading provided direction and engaged me in the modeling, and the modeling clarified and reinforced the concepts in the reading. Drawing from my experience with this book, I think it is ideal for those who are just getting started in dynamic modeling or have been learning for several years but want to sharpen and expand their systems thinking and modeling skills.
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on June 19, 2003
I have been involved in static data modeling as part of database design throughout my career, and because of that know very well that to really learn how to model, you have to do more than listen to lectures or read a text. This book, along with the accompanying STELLA modeling tool, is an excellent blend of concept and practice.
The book begins with a short tutorial of the STELLA tool, a run-time version of which is included. (STELLA is very easy to use, and although the math underlying it relies heavily on differential equations, the user can be completely removed from that and still model effectively.) The early chapters gradually develop an understanding of dynamic modeling by building on basic concepts. The following chapters work through models in various areas, such as genetics, economics, and ecology, and provide exposure to modeling in these disciplines, as well as introducing some very interesting aspects of models, such as chaos, randomness, and non-predictable results.
By way of introduction to modeling concepts, case studies are presented clearly and concisely. These are followed by an explanation of a basic model of the system being examined. There are always additional questions that lead to expansion of the ideas being presented, so that the reader can increase their understanding and have opportunities to practice the skills presented.
I used this book for a course in Dynamic Modeling, and found it to be great in presenting the basic concepts of dynamic modeling and in developing a heightened awareness that any system being studied is really a dynamic process. It took this understanding to the next step and showed how to model that process and how to run the model and watch the dynamics in action, while honing the skills of analyzing, refining, and looking for trends and unanticipated results. The book opened up a whole new way of viewing systems for me.
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The book teaches the use of a modelling program called STELLA, that can be used to simulate the behaviour of dynamical systems. You can treat the text as an extended user's manual about the capabilities of STELLA. It appears to be an easy program to learn. Its user interface hides the gory details of coupled integro-differential equations that actually model the systems.

More generally, the theory of modelling a dynamical system is developed. With a deprecating of the maths. Showing how positive and negative feedback and randomness can or should be introduced. The idea is to introduce STELLA to a broad audience, who can then perform modelling. Where otherwise they might have been put off by the amount of maths to be understood or the amount of code to be written.

Then, several chapters go into important special cases. There is a chapter on chemical models for mass action. This chapter is a little terse. No mention of molecular dynamics, which has been a very active area of simulation for decades and is highly developed.

And a chapter on genetics, where evolution is discussed. Then a chapter on different types of models of ecologies. Including, naturally, the predator-prey models. And a perhaps very topical section on how epidemics might spread. This is important in trying to understand how to contain AIDS, SARS or a new influenza.

Economic modelling is also gone into. Simulating scarcity of resources and how firms might compete.
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on November 21, 2011
Dynamic Modeling, 2nd edition
Bruce Hannon and Mathias Ruth
ISBN 0-387-98868-8

I bought one copy of this book and quickly saw that there was no CD-ROM anywhere in the book. I returned the book for another copy . . . same problem.

Now, how could Springer-Verlag release a book, that claims in many places therein, that does not include the CD-ROM.

One problem might be that the book with the above ISBN does not seem to be available at Springer Verlag. Check out


Here is the current info from SV on a book of with title, publication date and authors:

Modeling Dynamic Systems
Hannon, Bruce, Ruth, Matthias 2001, ISBN 978-0-387-98868-9, Hardcover

I have submitted a CD-ROM help request with SV-Support:

Here is hoping for the best!
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on March 19, 2013
a really good introducton to learning through modelling. a broad and intense presentation of SD that takes you straigth from the easy to the complex....
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