Abstract for: A hands-on, case-study demonstration of the modeling process, from problem definition to policy implications

This workshop will introduce sensitivity simulation, calibration to data, and model testing, in the context of developing and using a formal theory for the “societal life cycle of cigarette smoking.” We will go through the process of model development and use, building and testing a small feedback-rich model, to explore its modes of behavior and adequacy in explaining and addressing a dynamic problem. Active participation in this workshop will help with the following learning objectives: the elements to defining a dynamic problem, including reference modes of behavior; formulation and simulation of a feedback-rich model using Vensim® PLE, including using Synthesim and user-defined graphs; approaches to testing and evaluation, for the purpose of a) model refinement and b) confidence building in insights and recommendations; to conduct sensitivity simulations, with emphasis on distinguishing different patterns of behavior versus realizations; to conduct model calibration using empirical data (time permitting, computing and interpreting statistical measures of “goodness of fit”); how to relate model behavior to the structure of the system and to explain endogenously the patterns of behavior produced by the model; to extend model-based learning to policy insights and implications.