[ed.general] Seminar at Dept of AI, Edinburgh on Ecological Modelling

tw@aifh.ed.ac.uk (toby) (05/28/91)

Departmental Seminar at 2pm, 29 May in F10, 80 South Bridge.

Mike Uschold,
AIAI,
Edinburgh

"The Use of Domain Information for Comprehension and Construction of
Simulation Models"

We are concerned with two important issues in simulation modelling: {\em model
comprehension} and {\em model construction}.  Model comprehension is limited
because models are poorly documented.  This makes it difficult for models to be
modified or used by others.  Two key factors hindering model construction are
the fact that tools to not cater for how users think about their problems
[large conceptual distance], and the vast modelling search space.  For some
classes of problems, special-purpose paradigms and/or tools may be used to
reduce these difficulties to a manageable level.  We describe an approach for
overcoming the above difficulties in domains for which no such tools exist.

The key idea is to build a domain model first, and then define the simulation
model in terms of it.  This reduces conceptual distance, structures the
modelling search space, and automatically documents the simulation model.  We
describe Elklogic, a wide-spectrum language based on the typed lambda calculus
for representing both domain and simulation modelling information.  We describe
{\sc elk}, a working implementation of this approach in the domain of
ecological modelling.

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