Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Day of Class

Dynamic Modeling (Modeling Dynamic Systems)This semester I’m only taking one real class, and other than that I’m doing independent study to prepare my prospectus defense and study for my international security and economic policy specialization exam.

The one class I’m taking is Dynamic Modeling for Environmental Investment and Policy Making. (Our professor, Matthias Ruth, wrote the text book - I added the picture on the left.) The class is focused on teaching you how to create dynamic models using a program called “Stella.” I’m hoping that the class also provides some background on environmental policy issues, which is one of the main things I’m hoping to get out of it. But the modeling seems pretty fun, too, so I’m ok spending time on that.

The first lecture was canceled because of snow, and we had a substitute for the second lecture who provided somewhat of an overview. Our professor was back for the next lecture, and in class he basically went through an example with the group of building an increasingly complex model of population. At first it only took into consideration births and deaths, then the relationship between population and birthrate, then we added a whole separate model to represent the food supply and its link to the other variables. We eventually added agriculture and manufacturing. It was an interesting demonstration, and definitely provided a better sense of how to use Stella. Looking forward to future lectures!

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