Simulation modeling I: an online course

Instructor: Alexey Voinov

3 credits, asynchronous

This course is an introduction to simulation modeling of dynamic systems that will familiarize participants with systems analysis and modeling. Applications and case studies are drawn primarily from ecology and economics. Several modeling software packages are introduced, including Stella, Madonna, etc. Participants will be considering different modeling strategies and will learn how to formulate, build and analyze models. Investigation of alternative modeling software packages is encouraged.

The course is offered over the web and participants can choose their own pace for taking it. It starts with an introduction to systems thinking, modeling, and modeling software. It then gives a brief overview of mathematical concepts behind dynamic modeling and explores the art of building and analyzing models. We then consider several example applications. Each module is accompanied by exercises that participants are expected to submit over the web and that will be interactively graded. These exercises are a significant part of the course since in many cases they require hands on experience on existing models, that can be downloaded from the web and require analysis and modifications. Participants will be also working on a project of their own, which will require them to build, calibrate and run a simulation model for a system of their own choice. Class participation is assumed in the form of postings to the course discussion pages.

Course grading will be: 40% exercises, 10% class participation, 50% project.