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Juan Bautista Cabotà
University of Valencia, Department of Informatics
The book begins with an introductory invited chapter by Tuncer Ören (University of Ottawa), which emphasizes the importance of modelling and simulation and the variety of applications in science, engineering, social and health sciences. The chapter also highlights relevant implications of modelling and simulation for education and discusses benefits that this type of research can offer to policy makers and public administrators. Finally, while looking at the need for higher professionalization in this field, it lists more than 500 terms referring to different types of simulation.
The rest of the book includes applications of modelling and simulation in various knowledge areas, such as socio-ecological, industrial, chemical, physical, electromagnetic and other engineering processes, healthcare systems dynamics, virtual reality simulations, and even meta-scheduling of scientific workflows. It is remarkable that the models are described and documented in different ways. This is a serious problem, which is especially evident in a book including different models. By conforming to existing protocols, e.g. the ODD protocol, the contributions would have been more understandable.
Two of the papers here included deal with simulation technologies. Kuo Chia-Tung, Wang Da-Wei and Hsu Tsan-sheng propose a two-level sampling algorithm to adjust the time step of the simulations. This approach allows the modellers to divide each time step into any number of equally spaced sub-steps, providing flexibility in the modelling, e.g., by deciding first, if an event occurred in original time scale and then refining the occurrence time if needed. They show the potential of this approach in a model for epidemic spread, which demonstrates that identical results can be achieved by shortening and reducing simulation time compared to the original model. It is noteworthy that this does not require higher computational resources. In another work, Ilias Sakellariou discusses a domain specific language named TSTATES (Turtle-States), through a complete specification and an evaluation of its performance, and presents its application to modelling pedestrian simulation. TSTATES supports agent behaviour specification through state machines on top of NetLogo, one of the most successful and complete ABM platforms, and thus allows users to encode and execute more sophisticated agent models.
To conclude, this book provides an overview of current state and future challenges for modelling and simulation, a wide variety of applications and also a couple of technological contributions that will help the reader to take stoke of the current state-of-the-art and identify possible future research line.
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