The exponential expansion of simulation in research
Powers, Matthew J.
Sanchez, Susan M.
Lucas, Thomas W.
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Simulation has overcome critical obstacles to become a valuable method for obtaining insights about the behavior of complex systems. George Box’s famous assessment that “all models are wrong, some are useful” referred to statistical models, but should now be reimagined to reflect that many simulation models are “right enough” to aid in decision making for important practical problems. Over the past fifty years, simulation has transformed from its beginnings as a brute-force numerical integration method into an attractive and sophisticated option for decision makers. This is due, in part, to the exponential growth of computing power. Although other analytic approaches also benefit from this trend, keyword searches of several scholarly search engines reveal that the reliance on simulation is increasing more rapidly. A descriptive analysis paints a compelling picture: simulation is frequently a researcher’s preferred method for supporting decision makers and may often be the “first resort” for complex real world issues.
Proceedings of the 2012 Winter Simulation Conference, C. Laroque, J. Himmelspach, R. Pasupathy, O. Rose, and A.M. Uhrmacher, eds.
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