Dynamic Modeling (Modeling Dynamic Systems) Review

Dynamic Modeling (Modeling Dynamic Systems)
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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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The book uses STELLA software to develop simulation models, thus allowing readers to convert their understanding of a phenomenon to a computer model, and then run it to yield the inevitable dynamic consequences built into the structure. Part I provides an introduction to modeling dynamic systems, while Part II offers general modeling methods. Parts III through VIII then apply these methods to model real-world phenomena from chemistry, genetics, ecology, economics, and engineering. Dynamic Modeling includes STELLA run-time software for both Windows and Mac systems, as well as computer files of sample models used in the book. A clear, approachable introduction to the modeling process, of interest in any field where real problems can be illuminated by computer simulation.

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