modeling 2014
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Today in Computer Modeling and Simulation:

Today in class, the students were introduced to the idea that everything read on the internet and through Google should not be believed. For example, the students looked up the mass of Earth and the mass of Pluto and were asked to share their results. After surveying the class, they found that everything read on the internet is not correct and that big search engines like Google get their answers from the most popular site. If this model is a source, like Wikipedia, the information can be altered by any user. The students learned that this information they find is not always true.

Then the students learned about the “more is better” rule, which states that the more times you do something, the more likely it is to be accurate. They did this by physically testing a model by tossing around a blow-up globe and looking where their right index finger landed. They also realized that there is error in every experiment because they found that there was human error because people would move their fingers, and they found error in the ball because it was not perfectly round or completely blown up. The students were introduced to terms like “iteration” and “time step” during this experiment by learning that every time the ball shifts possession; this is a new time step.

After this, the students took a little quiz. From this quiz, the students learned that they should read all instructions before beginning and thinking critically about the problem put before them. Then, the students began to look at AgentSheets models and agent based modeling. The one the students first looked at was the Rabbits and Wolves model. They began playing with the options of a model by testing to see who could keep their model running for the longest number of iterations. Through trial and error and thinking logically about the problem set before them, the students went from their models only surviving 300 iterations to surviving 5000 iterations. The students continued to look at AgentSheets models by looking at the Fire Model. Levi introduced them to looking at all factors by associating them with burn rates, and explaining how using computer models is more effective when wanting to look at the possibility of something happening. To continue this exploration of AgentSheets, the students looked the “Infection” model. They were introduced to depictions of characters, and how to change the size of the world that the people are living on. This model also showed them the limits of human observation by showing that when the model is running at full speed it looked like two agents running. This exemplifies the limitations of human observation and how the computer may be more functional to use instead of “testing something out” in the real world; you can set it ahead of actual time.

Finally, the students proceeded to do reflections.