Thursday, August 13, 2009

Primer on System Dynamics

System Dynamics is a concept for seeing the world in terms of inputs and outputs, where internal feedback loops and time delays can affect system behavior and lead to complex, non-linear changes in system performance.

The System Dynamics worldview was originally developed by Prof. Jay Forrester at MIT. Later work by other thinkers, e.g., Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, expanded the original concepts and made them available to a broader audience. An overview of System Dynamics can be found on Wikipedia.

Our NuclearSafetySim program uses System Dynamics to model managerial behavior in an environment where maintaining the nuclear safety culture is a critical element. NuclearSafetySim is built using isee Systems iThink software. isee Systems has educational materials available on their website that explain some basic concepts.

There are other vendors in the System Dynamics software space, including Ventana Systems and their Vensim program. They also provide some reference materials, available here.

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