Introduction miniature models, process models and mathematical


Modelling is a way of generating a virtual representation of
a system in a simplified manner to better understand the real life system that
exists in the real world using software and hardware. A model is therefore the
computer program that has been designed and developed to emulate the way a system
works in a real life situation. Using knowledge from the past observations,
these real life occurrences can be used as data to create the system in which
the model is tested. This data can be in the form of mathematical formulas and
calculations giving the ability to predict what would actually happen.

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A simulation allows us to see real life interactions by
manipulating a model such that it operates in time and space in a virtual
system. This representation of a model can be simulated in a wide range of

a.       History and background of modelling and

Modelling has evolved through the years
from relying on only physical miniature models, process models and mathematical
models to being able to make computer models and then simulate them to see how
they would function in the real world. Simulations too have evolved from live
simulations such as training drills to simulations that can be done on a
computer. This evolution is the result of the increasing number of software
that is made available to the public use.  


b.      Importance of modelling and simulation

Modelling and simulation can be used for
the following purposes:

Investigation: a system can be analyzed in
detail using modeling and simulations. Simulations can be paused and stopped at
any moment in time to investigate a model in a virtual environment and its behavior.
A model can also be zoomed into to explore its many components and gain a more
extensive understanding of it and its many parts and how they functions before it
is built.

Training: people can be trained by using models
and simulations to mimic all the events that they could encounter in real life
situations. By using models, companies are able to give their trainees a
platform on which to make mistakes before they begin the real work. This allows
all personnel to learn the necessary skills and know how to deal with dangerous
situations when they do occur when they are on the job. In this way these
models and simulations prevent a great deal of accidents and save a lot of
money usually spent on replacing or fixing assets damaged by people while

Testing: Models and simulations are used to test
ideas and designs without having to build them in real life. Building the
actual design would require more money than simulating it on the computer and
therefore a lot if money is saved by taking this design approach when testing
out new ideas. One is able to know if the design would function if built and
also recognize all the errors that could have been made during calculations and
rectify them.

Predictions: models and simulations can be used
to show what could happen to a system after a certain period of time. If an
accurate model is build, the simulation time can be sped up to depict the behavior
of the design in the future. This would show the durability and expose the
weaknesses of the design without endangering the lives of people and wasting
money and resources by building materials that would not last for a long period
of time.




c.       Applications of modelling and simulation

There are many ways in which modelling and
simulations have been used to gain a better understanding of our surroundings. These
include designing safer cars, weather forecasting, infrastructure design, pilot
training and running a business.

When designing cars, safety is always an
issue of concern. Before computer designs, cars had to be built and crashed
multiple times to assess how safe they were before they were introduced to the
market. Modelling and simulation has made it cheaper and less time consuming by
having the safety of vehicles be tested through simulations. Models can be
crashed many times and the damage to the car and injuries to the passengers
evaluated and improvements made without having to make these cars in real life.

When the planet is modelled and the
previous weather conditions are programmed into the computer, a simulation can
be ran and fast forwarded to get an estimate of future weather conditions.

For infrastructure design, a model is used
to test how the design will respond to the natural weather conditions. For
example, a bridge can be analyzed to see if it would collapse in the case of storms
and if it would last for a long period of time considering the amount of
traffic. The same is done when constructing tall building to ensure that money
is wasted building unsafe structures that will need to be replaced.

In pilot training, the trainees go through
a number of flight simulations and as a result they make mistakes without endangering
the lives of passengers. When they start their real flights, they are equipped
with enough knowledge to make good decisions.

A model of a business can be used to predict
the amount of profit they will make in the future of they make certain
decisions. As such a business model helps the managers decide how to run the business
on an everyday basis.

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