Abstract for: Finding the Loops that Matter

The Loops that Matter method (Schoenberg et. al, 2019) for understanding model behavior provides metrics showing the contribution of the feedback loops in a model to behavior at each point in time. To provide these metrics, it is necessary find the set of loops on which to compute them. We show in this paper the necessity of including loops that are important at different points in the simulation. These important loops may not be independent of one another and cannot be determined from static analysis of the model structure. We then describe an algorithm that can be used to discover the most important loops in models that are too feedback rich for exhaustive loop discovery. We demonstrate the use of this algorithm in terms of its ability to find the most explanatory loops, and its computational performance for large models. By using this approach, the Loops that Matter method can be applied to models of any size or complexity.