Daily Archives: November 19, 2012

I meet system dynamics modeling

There is an area of management sciences thta I didn’t see much of in my days of ACO at CMU. It is yet another thing that I didn’t realize I’d be interested in when I was a student (like statistics). System dynamics modeling is its name.

I started to understand the importance of this research area when I was building my model of the Insecticide Treated mosquito Net distribution system a few years ago.

After we drew up a wonderful mess of boxes and arrows representing a compartmental model of nets flowing from manufacturers to distributors to households, I started thinking that this must have been done before. And indeed, in the early days of computer research, a bustling group centerd at the Sloan School at MIT did do it. I learned my history on this from an interesting book Feedback thought in social science and systems theory by George Richardson. The practical conventions, as far as I know them, I put together from a primer and a textbook, both of which are loaded with demographic and epidemiological examples. In my research, I’ve always focused on something a little different that the mainstream of system dynamics modeling, using the compartmental models to justify mechanistically one or another particular nonlinear regression.

It was in my sleep-deprived state of parenthood to a one-month-old that the Sloan-School brand of system dynamics modeling method really proved its utility for me.

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