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Dennis Meadows and Computer Modeling
Alex Steffen, 14 Sep 08

Dennis Meadows, in an email discussing computer models, suggested that beyond their obvious functions, computer models often have one or more of the following purposes:

#1: Provide useful information about the future behavior or the future coefficient values of some system. #2: Attract money that is mainly going to be used for purposes other than building a model - overhead, salaries, proposal writing. #3: Cause the model builder to become respected as an expert by others, so they will ask his or her advice. This often involves publishing the model in some respected journal. #4: Provide a disciplined learning environment within which the model builder actually does become an expert. #5: Generate results and computer output that can be used to justify or illustrate ideas and recommendations that were already existing. #6: Help a group of people learn to work together more effectively - trust, respect, and related variables. #7: Help a group of people learn a vocabulary or paradigm they can use in dealing with some shared problem. ... Note that #3 and #4 are quite independent of each other. People can gain expertise without respect and respect without expertise.

I found it worth pondering for a while.

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