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Some thoughts about the type of simulation that we will be creating

Various thoughts about the content, design, and use of the simulation game:

A few ideas relating to David Gelernter's Serious Play :

  • It would be convenient for the simulation to have a searchable database of all the information contained in it. For example (depending on how specific we make the models), one could search for the "price of apples at McNally's and Walmart."
  • Just a quote from Gelernter relating to the "topsight" that the simulation should give us (p. 183): "Topsight is an elusive goal. The simplest way to get it--the immediate, obvious, child-like way--is to recreate a big scene in little. Then I can soar above it--tower over it; literally see the big picture. Naive, childlike, effective. Microcosms are satisfying becuase they give you the sense of comprehending the whole thing, or understanding how the parts fit together and what it all means."

Some ideas motivated by Micahel Schrage's Serious Play :

  • Schrage discusses the necessity for a simulation to "speculate" about future events (pp. 151-154): given a set of circumstances, it can predict the most likely outcome. To what extent can/should the simulation have the ability to speculate? For example, it is difficult to say definitively whether raising the price of a particular item would increase or decrease a business's profits, but the simulation could suggest an answer given the tendencies of the actors in the game.
  • A relevant and interesting quote from Schrage: "You make a set of clearly untrue simplifications to get the system down to something you can handle...the end result, if the model is a good one, is an improved insight into why the vastly more complex real system behaves the way it does."
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