Introduction relying only on physical miniature models,Introduction relying only on physical miniature models,


Modelling is a way of generating a virtual representation of
a system in an easier 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 presented as a mathematical formula 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
conditions to get a better understanding of how model will function in the real

Modelling and simulation therefore allows us to view and
test all designs and ideas using software and hardware and gives a platform for
designers to make improvements to their designs. The following is a brief history
of the module and a look into the impact it has had in the way ideas are
brought into the real world.

History and
background of modelling and simulation

Modelling has evolved through the years from relying only on
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.


Importance of
modelling and simulation

Modelling and simulation can be used for the following

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.


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