Abstract for: Comparing Discrete Simulation and System Dynamics: Modeling an Anti-insurgency Influence Operation

This paper contrasts the tradeoffs of modeling the same dynamic problem at a micro scale and at a macro scale of analysis: discrete system simulation (DS) versus continuous system simulation or system dynamics (SD). Both are employed to model the influence of entertainment education on terrorist system decay, with implications for field application. Each method optimizes different design, scope/scale, data availability/accuracy, parameter settings, and system sensitivities. Whether the research served by the computer model is applied or theoretical, DS tends to be useful for understand low-level individual unit/step influences on system change over time, whereas SD tends to shine when a wide-angle focus upon sociological/aggregate change is required.