Abstract for: Model Analysis with Vensim

In this hands-on workshop, we will explore ways of testing models and the conclusions that flow from them, using Vensim. This process is crucial to the development of understanding and avoidance of errors. Topics covered will include dimensional consistency and conservation laws, feedback elimination, extreme conditions tests, parameter sensitivity, and other formal and informal methods for getting the most out of a model. The class will center around a variation of Dennis Meadows' commodity model. Participants will reconstruct portions of the model in order to understand key structures like an ordering decision. We will create a simple control panel for the model. Then we will use those tools to work through a critique of the model, making on-the-fly changes to the structure and parameters, and exploring the implications of decision rules. Participants will walk away with a basic understanding of the process of building a model with Vensim, using it to gain policy insight, and assessing model quality.