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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Filed under disease modeling

One response to “I meet system dynamics modeling

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Abraham – pleased to hear you discovered system dynamics and what it can do for these kinds of problems. The methods and tools in the field have leaped forward in recent years, and there are now easy ways to apply the approach to all kinds of cases. Healthcare happens to be one of the strongest domains to which SD has been applied, and it now forms a core part of the CDC’s thinking on a host of issues. The International System Dynamics Society [ISDC .. http://www.systemdynamics.org] has a thriving Interest Group on healthcare with lots of really smart and experienced people who may be able to help you and others who follows your blog.
    kind regards – Kim Warren, President-Elect, ISDC