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Modeling for All Scales: An Introduction to System Simulation 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0120449835
ISBN-10: 0125241704
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From the Back Cover

All manner of models are used to describe, simulate, extrapolate, and ultimately understand the function of dynamic systems. These sorts of models are usually based on a mathematical foundation that can be difficult to manipulate, especially for students. Modeling For all Scales uses object-oriented programming to erect and evaluate the efficacy of models of small-, intermediate-, and large-scale systems. Such models allow users to employ intuitively based symbols and a systems ecology approach. The authors, leaders in the systems ecology community, have originated much of the scientific vocabulary of the field. After an introduction to modeling and its benefits, several chapters detailing the more particular elements of successful simulation are followed by another series of chapters, each devoted to models of different sorts of systems. Small-scale models of growth, competition, and evolution give way, successively, to larger and larger scale models such as international trade and the global geobiosphere. Anyone interested in an easy-to-use approach to modeling complex systems authored by perhaps the most original systems ecologists of the century will want this book. To further enhance the user's ability to apply the lessons of this book, a CD-ROM that provides the fundamental tools for modeling at all scales is included.

About the Author

Howard T. Odum is the recognized originator of the systems approach to environmental and ecological modeling The recipient of many awards, his students and close colleagues now represent the leading proponents of systems science.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 1st edition (February 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0125241704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0120449835
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By W Boudville HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book provides a variety of examples of modelling. Drawn from economics, biology, engineering, chemistry and physics. Typically, a model will be accompanied with a diagram of the interacting variables. This is essential to understand the essence of the situation. The code is written in Basic and is entirely reproduced in an accompanying table. Today perhaps, the use of Basic has been largely deprecated. But it does mean that if you want to rewrite the code in another language, then this is straightforward. Usually, each example program is less than 50 lines, which alludes to the compactness of the simulation.

The authors also offer broad advice and observations throughout the text. Like not jumping into simulating at the final full level of detail. Instead they recommend starting with modelling with only the important features. Then, after you have this implemented, try to get insight into the behaviour and only later add extra parts. The debugging is simpler this way.

Another advice is to put limits of the amount of complexity you will model. Deliberately dial down the level of details you will insert into your program. At the most pragmatic level, complexity increases the chances of coding error. And if there are many coefficients, determining the appropriate values for these is awkward. Plus of course, understanding the overall system diagram is harder the more intricate the system.

And you should always strive to compare your model's predictions with observations. Don't get engrossed with the elegance of your simulated results.
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