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(1) the operation of a dynamic model in order to obtain a sequence of?utcomes that could occur in a real world system. Simulations of social processes can be accomplished either by human player games or by computer programs or by a combination of the two. Rather than simple computing the solution to a set of equations, a simulation produces a synthetic history oh the process. Beginning with a set of initial conditions, the simulation plays through the various kinds of events which might occur. (2) Simulation is the term applied to the process of modeling the essential features of a situation and then predicting what is likely to happen by operating with the model cace by case--i.e., by estimating the results of proposed actions from a series of imaginary experiments (imaginary because they are performed on the representation of the situation, the model, rather than on the situation itself). Most frequently, the simulation is a [COMPUTER simulation] in which the representation is carried out numerically on a digital computer. It may also be done on an analogue computer or by means of a physical representation, say by a wooden airfoil in a wind tunnel. [MAN-MACHINE simulation] is a simulation that employs a MAN-MACHINE model. Also see: role playing, gaming. (IIASA)
An unobtrusive scientific method of inquiry involving experiments with a model rather than with the portion of reality this model represents (see representation). Simulation is unobtrusive because it does not disturb the object of inquiry (except perhaps when an actor applies its results). Inasmuch as all information provided by a simulation is already contained in the model, simulation is useful primarily when the model is no longer tractable by algebraical techniques. This becomes particularly important with large numbers of equation built into the model, with large numbers of parts interacting within the model, with large numbers of paths that need to be traced simultaneously and with large numbers of iterations required to approximate the results. (Krippendorff)
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