System dynamics

From Academic Kids

System dynamics is one approach to modelling the dynamics of population, ecological and economic systems, which usually interact strongly with each other. Systems dynamics was founded in the early 1960s by Jay W. Forrester of the MIT Sloan School of Management with the establishment of the MIT System Dynamics Group. At that time, he began applying what he had learned about systems during his work in electrical engineering to everyday kinds of systems. What makes using system dynamics different from other approaches to studying complex systems is the use of feedback loops. Stocks and flows are the basic building blocks of system dynamic models. They help describe how a system is connected by feedback loops which create the nonlinearity found so frequently in modern day problems. Computer software is used to simulate a system dynamics model of the situation being studied. Running "what if" simulations to test certain policies on such a model can greatly aid in understanding how the system changes over time.

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Free software

  • Simile (http://www.ierm.ed.ac.uk/simile/) (free for research, educational and personal use)
  • Vensim (http://www.vensim.com/) (free for educational and personal use)
  • MapSys (http://www.simtegra.com/) (Free system thinking software)

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