Systems modeling may b used in different ways as part of process, improving understanding of situation and identifying problems or formulating opportunities and supporting decision making
Maps and plans, architects and engineers, drawings, graphs and tables: all are models we use in everyday life. This module will introduce you to the modeling process enabling you to recognize that systems models may be used in different ways as part of a process for; improving understanding of a situation, and identifying problems or formulating opportunities and supporting decision making.
After working through these materials you should be able to:
• Describe and use a general classification of models;
• Outline and discuss the process of systems modeling,
• Where models are used as part of a systemic approach to a range of different situations,
• Recognize that systems models may be used in different ways as part of a process for: improving understanding of a situation; identifying problems or formulating opportunities; supporting decision making.
I have assumed that you have come to this course because you are interested in the use of models as part of a systems or systemic approach to some situation. This means that I expect certain things of you:
• You to have an interest in understanding and interacting with some situation which you find puzzling, intriguing, worrying or which you are trying to manage.
• You believe the situation involves more than just a single process like the manufacture of a product such as concrete, or a cake, where the properties of the product can be altered in a predictable way by changing the ingredients or the processing used. It is likely to be a situation in which there is more than one person involved and where the result of any action cannot simply be predicted by common sense, or by a simple mathematical manipulation of a few numbers.
• You are already using, or want to learn how to use, some systems-based approach to working with the situation in which you are interested.
• You are aware of how a systems approach differs from other approaches commonly used in scientific analysis, sociology or business management.
In order to get the most out of this module, you need to be familiar with, or at least not worried by, simple mathematics, and recognize some related concepts such as chance and probability. Working through the first self-assessment question (SAQ) will give you an indication of the skills and attitudes involved. If you find you are having a lot of difficulty with SAQ 1, put this module aside and select a more appropriate module from the systems engineering course..
• Define what you understand by a system.
• Describe why you are interested in studying Systems, as opposed to physics, chemistry, engineering or a social science.
• Describe in words what the graphs in figures 1 and 2 in the following pages tell you, and comment on any features of the way that they are drawn, which you think are important.
• What does rate of change mean?
• Describe in words the following equation:
y = 24x 2 + 2x - 3
• Calculate the equation to the right.
For the answer to the previous SAQ you should read the document " Answers", in the section tilted 'Extra reading materials'.