Abstract for: Model building in System Dynamics and Discrete-event Simulation: a quantitative comparison

This paper presents an empirical study on the comparison of model building in System Dynamics (SD) and Discrete-event Simulation (DES). We study the model building process of 10 expert modellers (5 SD and 5 DES modellers), who talk aloud while building prison simulation models. The transcripts were coded based on 7 modelling topics: problem structuring, conceptual modelling, data inputs, model coding, validation & verification, results & experimentation and implementation. Our results suggest that all modellers switch between modelling topics, however DES modellers follow a more linear progression than SD modellers. Model coding is a central topic for DES modellers, while conceptual modelling followed by model coding interest SD modellers the most. Interestingly, the combined verbalisations on conceptual modelling and model coding account for the same percentage of SD and DES protocols. The quantitative analysis of expert modellers’ behaviour presented in this paper contributes towards the comparison of SD and DES.