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Meet our Volunteer Conference Team for the 2017 ISDC!

We are pleased to introduce our team of conference organizers for the 2017 Cambridge, Massachusetts, Conference! The Program Chairs are John Sterman and Nelson Repenning from MIT Sloan, and the Workshop Chairs are Jack B. Homer from Homer Consulting and Hazhir Rahmandad from MIT Sloan. Thank you to our conference volunteers for their dedication and service! For more information on the 35th Annual International System Dynamics Conference, a 60th Anniversary Celebration, visit the conference website.

RFI: Helping Decision-Makers Understand Complex Social Behaviors / Systems

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is requesting information on new ideas, approaches, and capabilities for developing interactive simulations that can be used to calibrate the validity of different social science research methods and tools in drawing “strong inference” about causal mechanisms that can lead to emergent complex behaviors in human social systems. Please see the Request for Information (RFI) for full information. Responses will be accepted until October 18, 2016.

Call for Papers Deadline: Asia-Pacific Region Conference

The Call for Papers deadline for the Asia-Pacific Region System Dynamics Conference is October 13, 2016. The conference will take place February 19-22, 2017, at the National University of Singapore. Information on submission requirements and instructions on how to submit your paper can be found on the A-P Conference website. The website also contains links to two articles by member Tom Fiddaman featuring tips on writing good System Dynamics Conference papers.

isee systems releases Stella Simulator

Earlier this week, isee systems announced the release of Stella Simulator. Stella Simulator is a stand-alone, XMILE-compatible simulation engine based on isee systems’ STEAM engine. It can be used for sever or High Performance Computing applications, or embedded in desktop applications. Visit isee systems’ website for additional details.

New Issue of the System Dynamics Review Available

The latest issue of the System Dynamics Review is available on the Wiley Online Library. This issue features the following research articles: “Understanding decision making about balancing two stocks: the faculty gender balancing task” (pages 6-25) by Inge Bleijenbergh, Jac Vennix, Eric Jacobs, and Marloes van Engen; “Structural dominance analysis of large and stochastic models” (pages 26-51) by Rogelio Oliva; and “A competence development framework for learning and teaching System Dynamics” (pages 52-81) by Martin F. G. Schaffernicht and Stefan N. Groesser. Also included in this issue is the “Notes and Insights” article “Quantifying the impacts of rework, schedule pressure, and ripple effect loops on project schedule performance” (pages 82-96) by Yasaman Jalili and David N. Ford.

News from the India Chapter of the System Dynamics Society

On October 5, 2016, the India Chapter will host a New Delhi/National Capital Territory regional meeting for System Dynamics professionals and those who are interested in the subject. The meeting will take place from 5-7 p.m. at the headquarters of IORA Ecological Solutions Pvt. Ltd. in Lado Sarai, New Delhi. The Governing Council of the SDS India Chapter is meeting at 10 a.m. on October 7th, at the Symbiosis Institute of Computer Science in Pune, Maharashtra. The focus of this meeting is to develop a strategy for engagement and activities for 2016-2017 in India. The India Chapter welcomes your suggestions, comments, and ideas on how to increase the level of engagement with System Dynamics practitioners in India – please email Karan Khosla at For information about the India Chapter, please visit their web page.

Latin American Conference of System Dynamics, October 2016

The Latin American and Brazil Chapters of the System Dynamics Society invite you to attend the XIV Latin American Conference of Systems Dynamics (CLADS 2016), October 19-21, 2016, at the University Center FEI, São Paulo, Brazil. The following Society members are scheduled to speak at the conference: Kim Warren, Hazir Rahmandad, Etiënne Rouwette, and Karim Chichakly. A registration discount is available through September 26, 2016. Additional conference information can be viewed on the CLADS 2016 website.

News from the Russian Chapter of the System Dynamics Society

On behalf of the Russian Chapter, Member Natalia Lychkina invites system dynamicists to participate in the IV International Research Conference, “System Analysis in the Economy – 2016.” The SAvE 2016 Conference, hosted by the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, will be held in Moscow, November 9-11, 2016. The main purpose of the conference is to create a platform for scientific generalizations and achieved practical results in the social and economic sphere in order to develop the science of the economy and society on the basis of the theory of socio-economic systems. The founder and head of the conference is the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Georgii Borisovich Kleiner.

The deadline for submission of reports for presentation to students, masters and post-graduate students is October 30, 2016. Please see the conference website for additional details. For information about the Russian Chapter, visit their web page.

Michael Goodman
David Peter Stroh

Systems Thinking Concepts

Explore applications of Systems Thinking: Learn the theory and practice of systems thinking from world-renowned experts Michael Goodman and David Peter Stroh. This six-class course will teach how to use and apply the core tools and frameworks of systems thinking including the iceberg, causal loop diagrams, system archetypes, systems mapping, and mental models. For a list and descriptions of the classes, information about the instructors, the schedule and to register please visit the website. Class 1 “Overview and Systems Thinking for Change,” about the history of systems thinking, why good intentions are not enough, differences between conventional and systems thinking, and why systems thinking catalyzes change, will meet on September 30th.

Climate Interactive’s World Climate Simulation October 9th-16th

From October 9th-16th, people from across the globe will come together for World Climate Week to build awareness about climate change. Climate Interactive invites you to join the movement and engage people by facilitating a mock-UN climate negotiation a month before the actual COP 22 climate talks. The System Dynamics model and online simulation behind the negotiation was built by a large team of long time SDS members, including John Sterman, Andrew Jones, Tom Fiddaman, and Michael Bean. Since the UN climate agreement was signed in Paris last December, Climate Interactive’s simulation of UN Climate talks has become an important tool for promoting understanding and encouraging action. Join the group of volunteer World Climate Ambassadors and Facilitators who have already planned over 50 events involving over 5,000 participants. Please visit the Climate Interactive website for detailed information about World Climate Simulations and to access the free resources and materials to plan an event.

Iran Chapter’s Report to the System Dynamics Society

On July 17th, the annual meeting of Iran Chapter was held at the 34th ISDC in Delft. There were eighteen researchers in attendance. The meeting opened with an introduction and welcome by Babak Bahaddin, the past president of Iran Chapter. He gave a brief background about the committee and covered agenda items including the process of electing new committee officers. Dr. Ali N. Mashayekhi, the newly elected president of Iran Chapter, opened the floor for general questions and suggestions before the meeting concluded.

The new officers of the Iran Chapter include:
President: Dr. Ali N. Mashayekhi
Vice President: Masoud Rabieh
Vice President Publishing: Davood Andalib
Vice President Electronic Presence: Ali Haji Gholam Saryazdi
Secretary: Hamid Abdolabadi
Society Liaison: Babak Bahaddin

A second meeting of Iran Chapter committee was held in Iran on August 14th. Dr. Mashayekhi welcomed the incoming officers and chapter members. In this meeting, an updated committee organizational chart was presented. In addition, an overview of the responsibilities of each position and the relationships between the committee members were defined. The main objectives of Iran Chapter were listed: establishing a website, providing researchers and professionals with the suitable information and publications utilizing System Dynamics, highlighting members’ activities, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge among members.

The Iran Chapter will celebrate its first anniversary next month. Since their start in October, 2015, they have seen tremendous growth. This active chapter has built an incredible network of over a hundred members. For more information about the Iran Chapter and becoming a member, please visit their web page.

System Dynamics Review Early View

A newly released Early View of the System Dynamics Review features the research article “Quantifying the impacts of rework, schedule pressure, and ripple effect loops on project schedule performance” by Society member David N. Ford and his colleague Yasaman Jalili. The article is now available on the Wiley Online Library and will later be published in an issue of the System Dynamics Review.

Using System Dynamics Techniques to Analyze the Convergence of Environmental and Energy Issues

In the article “Retooling regulation: Clean air and clean energy demands an integrated oversight regime” by Kenneth Colburn and Chris James of the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), the authors discuss integrating energy and environmental regulations and the problems that arise. Author Kenneth A. Colburn, Principal, U.S. Programs at the Regulatory Assistance Project says “I am by no means an expert on System Dynamics modeling, but I have been involved with one or two such efforts, during which I gained immense respect for the capabilities and promise of System Dynamics analysis and modeling techniques.” The article, posted on the website Utility Drive, states “Specifically, RAP is developing a model process we’ve dubbed “E-Merge” to meld best principles from energy planning, such as long-term reviews of what energy resources are needed and most cost-effective, with environmental improvement more aligned to how people breathe and businesses operate.” The full article, the first of a four part series, can be read on the Utility Dive website.

Strategy Dynamics releases new mini-course on Agile System Dynamics

Simulating business situations was, until recently, complicated, slow and costly – and the end-result could be disappointing. But recent advances in both method and tools have transformed this situation – building working, quantified business models is now easier, faster, cheaper and more reliable than trying to do the same thing with a spreadsheet.

The videos were recorded in a half-day workshop led by Kim Warren of Strategy Dynamics at the System Dynamics conference in Delft and have been edited into a series of clips, in three parts. They explain and demonstrate an “Agile” approach to System Dynamics, in which very simple working models are built quickly with users, before adding more and more elements to build up a rich model of the situation. To access the full content of the course, please complete the required free registration.

The class uses the Sysdea software – designed to be as easy-as-possible to use, although any System Dynamics software could be used. For more information, please email

Member Corey Lofdahl Takes On New Position as Principal Engineer at System of System Analysis Corporation (SoSACorp)

Member Dr. Corey Lofdahl is now employed as a Principal Engineer at System of System Analysis Corporation (SoSACorp) starting August 2016. At SoSACorp, he will work on the design of policy support systems. Specifically, he will leverage model creation and combination insights from the System Dynamics (SD) simulation methodology to inform the design of support tools for Department of Defense analysts. This work is based on research started under the DARPA Integrated Battle Command (IBC) and Conflict Modeling, Planning, and Outcomes Experimentation (COMPOEX) programs in which he built a suite of integrated political, economic, and military SD models. As follow-on work to this research, Corey spent six months working as a political-military quantitative analyst in Kabul, Afghanistan. He holds degrees in electrical engineering, computer science, and international relations from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Brown University, and MIT. He is also the author of the monograph Environmental Impacts of Globalization and Trade: A System Study (MIT Press 2002) that combines SD simulation with spatial econometric and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques. On behalf of the Society, congratulations and good luck to Corey!

Member Rogelio Oliva appointed Full Professor

Member Rogelio Oliva has been appointed a Full Professor of Information and Operations Management at Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, starting September 1st, 2016.

His research explores how behavioral and social aspects of an organization interact with its technical components to determine the firm’s operational performance. Rogelio teaches courses in operations management, supply chain management, and management information systems for the MBA and Executive MBA programs. Prior to joining the Mays faculty, Rogelio served in the faculty of the Harvard Business School, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in Chile, and ITESM in Mexico. He has received multiple teaching awards including the Production and Operations Management Society’s Skinner Teaching Achievement Award and the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University Distinguished Achievement Award at the College and University levels. Rogelio has a strong tradition of volunteering for the System Dynamics Society. He was program co-chair of the 2007 ISDS Conference in Boston, served as President of the Society in 2010, and was the editor of the System Dynamics Review from 2012-2015.

Dynamic Estimation Model: the gap between needs and availability of health services through 2020

Member Jim Thompson’s work with healthcare System Dynamics in Indonesia has recently been published as a series of 34 booklets titled Dynamic Estimation Model: the gap between needs and availability of health services through 2020. Written in Bahasa, the Indonesian language, each booklet covers the results of one of the nation’s 33 provinces, and the final booklet contains a summary report for the full country. The booklets are now available as a free download. The principal audiences are, as Jim has noted, “provincial parliamentarians who enact laws to conform with the national goal of universal healthcare coverage. Hospital administrators, medical school administrators, pharmaceutical providers, and commercial developers use the reports in their strategic planning.” Referring to the publications and the work he led in Indonesia, Jim states “Our work already has had quite a strong impact. Because of our reasoning and recommendations, provinces are planning medical schools and revising plans for hospital facilities. Immigration regulations covering physicians and nurses are under review for liberalization, and provinces are taking a second look at their plans to expand healthcare coverage between now and 2019. So I think the methodology is contributing a lot to healthcare systems conditions in this very large and wonderful country!” A 300-page English language book is now in production that summarizes results for each province and discusses development of the underlying System Dynamics model.

SD Model for New Mexico

New Mexico’s Water Resources Research Institute, Tetra Tech and the University of New Mexico, along with other affiliates, have completed the first version of a Dynamic Statewide Water Budget Model. Society member Len Malczynski notes “System Dynamics is a great fit for hydrologic modeling. This is an excellent example of model meets interface to form a useful application.” The goal of this model, as described on their website, “is to provide a consolidated account of all of the historical trends and to forecast future trends of New Mexico’s water resources in an easily accessible format. This is done through the use of stocks and flows. Stocks are the given amount of water in one area at a time. Flows are the movement of water between these stocks.” The functionality of model used in this project will continue to be improved as they transition into the third year. It is currently available for anyone to use. To learn more about this project and the model used, read the full article on the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute website.

Announcing the Call for Papers for the Asia-Pacific Region System Dynamics Conference

The 2nd Asia-Pacific Region System Dynamics Conference of the System Dynamics Society will be hosted by National University of Singapore on February 19-22, 2017. The conference committee is now accepting paper submissions. The deadline for paper submissions and workshop proposals is set for October 13, 2016. This year’s conference will emphasize the public policy issues relating to sustainability, resilience, and human well-being of particular relevance to the region. Because of the Residential College 4’s sponsorship role, emphasis will also be given to the effective teaching of systems thinking and System Dynamics modeling as a part of general education curricula for upper level secondary school and for first and second year undergraduate students. Visit the Asia-Pacific Region Conference web page for detailed information.

System Dynamics Review Early View

The research article “A competence development framework for learning and teaching System Dynamics” by Stefan Groesser and Martin F. G. Schaffernicht is included in the newly released Early View of the System Dynamics Review. The article which will later be published in the System Dynamics Review, is now available on the Wiley Online Library.

Ralf Lippold

System Dynamics in Dresden

Jay W. Forrester and his work in the field of System Dynamics have provided inspiration for many. In a letter published last August on the MIT Technology Review website, system dynamicist Ralf Lippold recalls his brief meeting with Professor Forrester, “At the MIT workshop we discussed learning to see the connections within the larger social field and how they are embedded in existing feedback systems. What still sticks in my mind from my short chat with Jay is his saying, ‘Don’t fear objection by others—in the end, you learn for yourself!’ With a personal dream to establish a System Dynamics Institute here in Dresden, I recently initiated Dresden U.Lab Hub and X Prize Think Tank Dresden, hoping that both may work as door openers into an uncharted yet fascinating future. As Jay observed, one should always go through doors that look like an interesting opportunity!” In a blog post titled When Dynamic Complexity Drives a Dream: A Team Action Lea(r)ning —A Journey into the Future, Ralf discusses the proposal that was inspired by his past meeting with Professor Forrester. The proposal, initially a ‘Google 10^100 Project’ proposal, aims to revive the former economic strength of the region around Dresden and Saxony. It was the core of this proposal that Ralf had used as a starting point for change in what is now, after several prototypes, the “Citizen Science Lab,” a System Dynamics action research institute. His ultimate vision is “to grow people inside their area of living towards their strengths so they can build up an economy that is sustainable and much more resilient to the crisis that we face right now.” See the blog post to read more about the proposal and a list of steps documenting the progress that has been made thus far.

Call for Papers for both the 2017 Conference and special issue of the System Dynamics Review

In 2017 the System Dynamics Society will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the field of System Dynamics. In honor of the 60th anniversary, there will be a special issue of the System Dynamics Review. This issue will feature work that speaks to the future of the field. At the 35th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society we will celebrate the accomplishments of the past six decades and explore the future directions by showcasing the best work in dynamic modeling being done today. The 2017 conference will take place in Cambridge, Massachusetts next to the MIT campus – the very place where Jay Forrester developed the field. System Dynamics has expanded across the globe – from K-12 classrooms through doctoral programs, in research and in applications in a multitude of disciplines – progressing immensely as technology grew. We reflected upon this growth in 2007 as we celebrated the first 50 years of the field of System Dynamics, and now, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary, we look ahead to all the potential opportunities in store for the next half century. We hope you will take part in the events of this special anniversary! View the conference Call for Papers for information and a list of the important dates and also the Call for Papers for the special issue of System Dynamics Review. Share this information with fellow dynamics modelers, system dynamicists and students with the printable Power Point presentation.

Publication by Members Mohammad S. Jalali and Hazir Rahmandad in Obesity Reviews

The article “Social influence in childhood obesity interventions: a systemic review,” by members Mohammad S. Jalali and Hazir Rahmandad, along with their colleagues, Zahra Sharafi-Avarzaman and Alice S. Ammerman, has been published in the September 2016 issue of the journal Obesity Reviews. In the summary of the article, the authors write “The objective of this study is to understand the pathways through which social influence at the family level moderates the impact of childhood obesity interventions. We conducted a systematic review of obesity interventions in which parents’ behaviours are targeted to change children’s obesity outcomes, because of the potential social and environmental influence of parents on the nutrition and physical activity behaviours of children.”

Read more in the full article available on the Wiley Online Library. The casual loop diagram created by the authors to visualize the outputs of the literature review can also be viewed online.

System Dynamics Review Early View

A new System Dynamics Review Early View has been released. Rogelio Oliva’s research article “Structural dominance analysis of large and stochastic models,” to be published in the System Dynamics Review, is now available on the Wiley Online Library.

New Certificate in Systems Thinking

In collaboration with Michael Goodman and David Peter Stroh, experts from Innovation Associates, isee systems has developed a System Thinking and System Dynamics certification program. The program consists of courses that teach the concepts and real world practice of System Thinking. The first of two courses, System Thinking Concepts, will meet six times over a three month period beginning on September 30th, 2016. Visit isee systems website to learn more about the courses and the benefits of earning a Certificate in Systems Thinking.

Publication by Members Jack Homer and Gary Hirsch in Health Affairs

Members Jack Homer and Gary Hirsch, together with colleagues Bobby Milstein and Elliott Fisher, have a new publication entitled “Combined Regional Investments Could Substantially Enhance Health System Performance and Be Financially Affordable” in the August issue of Health Affairs, a leading health policy journal in the US, (Health Affairs 2016;35(8):1435-43). The article reports on policy conclusions drawn from the ReThink Health model. A blog posting about the article including a link to the article itself can be viewed online. More information about the ReThink Health Dynamics is available on their website.

The authors write “Results suggest that there may be an effective and affordable way to unlock much greater health and economic potential, ultimately reducing severe illness by 20 percent, lowering health care costs by 14 percent, and improving economic productivity by 9 percent. This would require combined investments in clinical and population-level initiatives, coupled with financial agreements that reduce incentives for costly care and reinvest a share of the savings to ensure adequate long-term financing.”

The 9th Annual ARCS Research Conference, June 2017

Information on a conference of potential interest to those using System Dynamics in sustainability contexts: The Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS) will bring together scholars from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives interested in advancing research on corporate sustainability. The 9th Annual ARCS Research Conference will be held June 14-16, 2017 at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands. The conference welcomes unpublished working papers focused on business and sustainability from all disciplines and research areas. The deadline for submitting papers is November 28, 2016, see the Call for Papers announcement for guidelines and additional information.

Last Call for Abstracts for the South Africa Chapter Annual SD Conference

The 4th Annual System Dynamics Conference for the South Africa Chapter will be held on November 17-18, 2016, in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The SASD Chapter and ESKOM, hosts of the conference themed Facilitating Just Transitions, invite the submission of extended abstracts that entail a diversity of domains, disciplines and stakeholders. The August 20th deadline for Extended Abstracts is right around the corner. For additional information and inquiries about submitting a paper, please email

Publication by Member Bill Grace in the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research

Member of the Australasian Chapter, Bill Grace, who is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia’s Urban Design Research Centre, has published an article in the Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research (Volume 7, Issue 4) entitled “Simulating sustainability: a resources perspective.” Inspired by the Limits to Growth studies, the article reports the application of a global population–economy–resource model to explore the future impact of declining resource availability on the world economy.
Bill explains “The model is highly simplified in comparison to the World 3–03 model and focuses on the influence of resource constraints on aggregate global output. Thus it seeks to capture the essential resource crisis reflected in Scenarios 1 and 2 of World 3–03 but using readily available data, which facilitates a quasi-quantitative analysis of system trajectory, and application at the region or nation scale. The model has been constructed to project the current trajectory of population, economic production and associated resource use into the future, with results that are similar to World 3–03. Policy interventions involving a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, reduced resource intensity and materials recycling are necessary to correct this trajectory and facilitate ongoing improvements in global average living standards.”
The model is accessible via Bill’s website.

The Application of System Dynamics to Impact Assessment

Impact assessment, simply defined, is the process of identifying the future consequences of a current or proposed action. (International Association for Impact Assessment).
In recent years there have been increasing calls for impact assessment to better recognize the interconnectedness of the various components of socio-ecological systems, and to adopt a systems approach to conducting impact assessments. This is particularly important for forms of impact assessment that focus upon sustainability, since sustainability itself is a holistic concept in which social and environmental concerns are inherently intertwined, regardless of which particular definition of sustainability is adopted.
Society member, Bill Grace together with his co-author Dr Jenny Pope, a leading sustainability assessment scholar, have written a book chapter in The Handbook of Sustainability Assessment (eds Morrison-Saunders, Pope, Bond) entitled “A Systems Approach to Sustainability Assessment.” The chapter introduces System Dynamics to the reader through a simple example of sustainability-related analysis, considering the extent to which the system behavior reflects some of the concepts and heuristics of resilience thinking. The authors then propose the structure for a systems model for sustainability and describe how systems analysis can inform sustainability assessment, i.e. any process that seeks to direct decision-making towards sustainability. The Handbook of Sustainability Assessment can be found on the website of its publisher, Edward Elgar.

Call for Papers: Special Issue of the System Dynamics Review

From Guest Editors Nelson Repenning and John Sterman (MIT Sloan School of Management): The special issue of the System Dynamics Review will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the field. The field of system dynamics was founded by Jay Forrester 60 years ago. The 2017 conference of the System Dynamics Society will celebrate this milestone and, in conjunction, the System Dynamics Review seeks contributions for a special issue commemorating this anniversary. Whereas the 50th anniversary special issue celebrated the achievements of the field in its first half-century, for the 60th anniversary special issue we seek papers that look forward to the next 50 years. We particularly welcome work that provides new approaches to important theoretical and methodological issues, application areas, modeling practice, education, empirical methods and integration of different approaches to modeling the dynamics of complex systems. We also encourage descriptions of exemplary applications and other developments that explore important paths for the future of the field, including the integration of dynamic modeling with modern approaches to data analytics, parameter estimation, machine learning and optimization, and the integration of system dynamics with new developments in economics, political science, psychology, sociology and other disciplines.

Inquiries about proposed papers are welcome; the guest editors will provide feedback on proposals. A 2-stage procedure will be followed. Initially authors are requested to submit an extended abstract (2 pages maximum). These will then be reviewed by the editors and selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper, which will go through normal peer review. Inquiries and extended abstracts should be directed to the editors for the special issue at Final papers should follow the journal’s Guidelines for each category of contribution and transmitted via the System Dynamics Review online submission system. The full Call for Papers is available online.

LinkedIn Pulse Article by Member Kim Warren

The article “The Power of Living Business Models” by Kim Warren of Strategy Dynamics has been published on LinkedIn Pulse. In the article, Kim discusses the importance of building functional business models, he states “…working, quantified business models are easy to build (easier, faster and way-better than those tired old spreadsheets!)

In these business models, everything is specified and quantified, every causal relationship is explicit and can be checked, and the result is a living model of the business or issue of interest that mimics its actual and prospective performance. Such models do what the real world does, and do so for the same reasons, and can also include all relevant external factors, including competitors.” Kim explains that most business plans neglect to show revenue generated and expenses incurred. The models he shares demonstrate the benefits of a “live” business model. Read more about Kim’s business models in the full article.

New Research Opportunities Available

Making potential grant applications and requests for proposals visible to members is critical to the field. Two opportunities have recently come across our desk at the System Dynamics Society office; we would like to share this information with our members.

The Gulf Research Program & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are committing $10 million to fund projects that explore human dynamics of resilience. They are currently seeking researchers and community members working across the boundaries of science and practice and of society and the environment to advance our understanding of what makes and keeps Gulf communities resilient, healthy, and thriving. Detailed information is available on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine website. Register for their webinar on August 11, 2016 to learn more.

The UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) is seeking qualified firms to conduct a review of systems change since 2011/2012 in four countries (Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan) in an effort to improve and develop child protection systems in the region. The review will directly contribute to programming directions in each country, the approach to systems strengthening in other countries in the region and global directions on how UNICEF engages in systems development. Complete details can be accessed on the United Nations Global Marketplace website.

Member Kim Warren’s Plenary Talk Featured in a Video

Check out this video posted by Strategy Dynamics featuring Kim Warren’s plenary talk from the International System Dynamics Conference in Delft. The video, titled “From spreadsheets to models: Making System Dynamics mainstream,” uses humor to illustrate how useful and powerful System Dynamics can be to people outside of the SD community.

Poster by Andrea Navarrete, Camilo Olaya, and Juliana Gomez-Quintero

Best Poster Winner presented at the ISDC 2016

At the 34th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, two poster presentations received the award of Best Poster Winner. The awards were presented to Joona Tuovinen for his poster The Dynamics of Product Commonality: Implications of the circular causality between product and firm structures, and Andrea Navarrete, Camilo Olaya, and Juliana Gomez-Quintero, for their poster To Legislate or not to Legislate? That is the Question: How Legislative Inflation Boosts Prison Overcrowding. Congratulations on your outstanding poster presentations!

Joona Tuovinen
Camilo Olaya

Publication by Member Salman Ahmad in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

The article “Application of System Dynamics Approach in Electricity Sector Modelling: A Review” by member Salman Ahmad, along with colleagues Razman Mat Tahar, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki, Abu Bakar Munir, and Ruzairi Abdul Rahim, has been published in volume 56 of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, April 2016. As stated in the abstract, “Electricity has become a vital source of energy for social and economic development in modern era. Likewise, the issues of its planning and management have grown complex. To address complexity in decision making, researchers have chosen system dynamics (SD) modelling and simulation technique. A state-of-art of such studies published during the period 2000–2013 is presented in this paper. The contribution of this review lies in categorizing the literature based on the important and contemporary researched areas. These research areas include models developed for policy assessment, generation capacity expansion, financial instruments, demand side management, mixing methods, and finally micro-worlds.” The full article can be accessed on the Science Direct website.

Member David Keith quoted: Tesla Motor Company’s Role in Popularizing Green Energy

In a July 24, 2016 New York Times article by Matt Richtel titled “Elon Musk of Tesla Sticks to a Mission Despite Setbacks,” the future path of Tesla is explored. After a fatal accident involving Tesla’s Autopilot, entrepreneur Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors, presses forward with his vision to expand the use of green energy. Musk talks about his plan for the largest battery factory, the Gigafactory in Nevada. As stated in the article, “Scale and speed are watchwords for Mr. Musk and his save-the-world view of business, which addresses some of the biggest pressure points in climate change. Mr. Musk wants to create an alternative to fossil fuels by popularizing solar power and by using batteries to store energy from the sun and wind to power homes, cars and businesses at any time of day and in any season.” Speaking of the impact Tesla has made by influencing the culture, David Keith, an assistant professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and System Dynamics Society member, said “It’s the first time, possibly ever, that a green product, with significant environmental credentials, has been the thing that everybody wanted.” The full article can be viewed on the New York Times website.

Using System Dynamics to Analyze Social Networks and Messaging Apps

In his blog post titled “The MIT way to spot unicorns with mad cow disease,” Technology Executive and Strategy Consultant Pieter Nel discusses how he is successfully using System Dynamics to analyze social networks and messaging apps. Looking to make a prediction about the path of tech companies and mobile social networks, Nel, the former CTO of the mobile instant messaging company Mxit, enrolled as a Sloan Fellow at MIT. Nel created a model that simulated retention of users on a social networking platform, “If you think of a bucket leaking water, the active users would be the water in the bucket (the stock), and the leaks would be users/month churning out (the flow).” He goes on to explain that “…the rate of the leak is dependent on the remaining amount of water in the bucket. As the water empties, the leak weakens. This is the “dynamic” nature of system dynamics and in a complex system with many such interconnected “buckets” it leads to non-linear effects which are impossible to anticipate unless you model them.” In the post, Nel also discusses how fast users are acquired in the Bass diffusion model and how long they stay using Little’s Law. Nel’s models have accurately depicted outcomes, catching the attention of leading tech analysts. Please visit Pieter Nel’s blog post to read more about his use of System Dynamics.

Announcing a Call for Abstracts for the WOSC 2017 Congress

Join the conversations about social dynamics from a cyber-systemic perspective at the 17th Congress of World Organisation of Systems and Cybernetics in Rome, Italy, January 25-27, 2017. The conference, themed “Think outside the box with System Dynamics,” will be hosted by the Department of Management, Faculty of Economics, at Sapienza University of Rome. Abstracts that have a focus on any of the Congress’s tracks , which are grouped under three themes: people, technology and governance for sustainability; democracy, interactions and organization; and cyber-systemic thinking, modeling and epistemology, should be submitted by the August 30 deadline. For more information about the WOSC 2017 Congress, including abstract submission guidelines and conference registration, please visit the WOSC website.

System Dynamics Society Awards Given at the Conference (July 21, 2016)

The Jay Wright Forrester Award recognizes the authors of the best contribution to the field of System Dynamics in the preceding five years. The Forrester Award, presented as often as once annually, is the highest award given by the System Dynamics Society. This year the award was presented to Shayne Gary and Robert Wood, for their winning work, Mental models, decision rules, and performance heterogeneity, published in June, 2011, in the Strategic Management Journal. Congratulations to Shayne and Robert on your outstanding achievement!

Pictured left to right: Shayne Gary and John Sterman

The System Dynamics Society Outstanding Service Award recognizes individuals that have, on a volunteer basis, made exceptional contributions to the Society over an extended period of time. This year the Society awarded Yaman Barlas the Outstanding Service Award in grateful recognition of his exceptional volunteer contributions to the System Dynamics Society.

Pictured left to right: Bob Eberlein, David Andersen, Roberta Spencer, Yaman Barlas, and Peter Milling

The Lupina Young Researchers Award is given annually for outstanding papers dealing with health-related topics authored by students. The 2016 recipients were Bramka Arga Jafino and Pedram Soltani for their paper Saving Lives and Time: Tackling Transportation Induced Air Pollution in Jakarta. The Lupina Award Committee of four judges (Gary Hirsch, Jack Homer, Wayne Wakeland, David Lounsbury, Chair) agreed that this was a strong paper with important health policy implications, and that it was most deserving of recognition among those submitted for consideration.

Pictured left to right: David Lounsbury, Bramka Arga Jafino, Pedram Soltani, and Gary Hirsch

The Barry Richmond Scholarship Award is presented annually to a deserving Systems Thinking or System Dynamics practitioner whose work demonstrates a desire to expand the field or to apply it to current social issues. This year’s recipient was Jeffrey Walters from the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile.

Pictured from left to right: Bob Eberlein, Karim Chichakly, and Jeffery Walters

A Note of Gratitude
The Scholarship Committee and staff of the System Dynamics Society were touched to receive this kind note from scholarship recipient Hamid Abdolabadi. This year the Society raised enough funds to award scholarships to eleven participants. We would like to extend this thank you note to all who contributed, your support made this great opportunity possible.
“I am writing to express my appreciation for the scholarship that helped me to attend the 34th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. This was such a meaningful and worthwhile experience! I can honestly say, I would not have had the opportunity to learn so much without the scholarship offered to me! Many thanks again!” -Hamid Abdolabadi


High School Students Use System Dynamics to Tackle Gun Violence at the Changing Systems Student Summit at Washington University in St. Louis
From June 28 through July 1, 2016, the second annual Changing Systems Student Summit brought together dozens of high school students from surrounding communities to discuss how System Dynamics can be used to change the cycle of gun violence. This summit, a part of Washington University’s yearlong initiative “Gun Violence: A Public Health Crisis,” was sponsored by the Brown School’s Ferguson Seed Fund and Social System Design Laboratory and the Institute for Public Health, all a part of Washington University in St. Louis. A news article on Washington University’s website states “The summit considered gun violence through a program designed, led and facilitated by 15 interns from Ritenour and Jennings high schools trained in system dynamics, a method of modeling complex problems. They in turn worked with 28 high school students representing 19 schools in St. Louis city and county. The high school facilitators engaged their peers in scripted activities to map out the underlying system structure that leads to gun violence in St. Louis. Specifically, they focused on the cycles that perpetuate gun violence to identify ways to restructure the system.” The results of their research was shared with the community, regional leaders and members of the Brown School. Students who participated will continue to work on this issue. Read more about the Changing Systems Student Summit and the work they are doing in the full article.

Announcing a new publication by members Guido Veldhuis and Hubert Korzilius: “Seeing with the Mind: The Relationship Between Spatial Ability and Inferring Dynamic Behaviour from Graphs.”
Is people’s understanding of accumulation and correlation heuristic reasoning related to their spatial ability? It has been several years since the ‘systems thinking inventory’ task was introduced by Linda Booth Sweeney and John Sterman. Since then researchers around the world have repeated and extended the systems thinking inventory experiments. The results have again and again demonstrated that many people misperceive the relation between stocks and flows. In a new publication, members Guido Veldhuis and Hubert Korzilius shed light on the precursors of this phenomenon. Their research draws on knowledge and experimental results from other domains and offers a new perspective on performance in the aforementioned tasks. As stated in the abstract, “We tested if two dimensions of spatial ability, spatial visualization and spatial relations, are related to selecting correct or correlation heuristic answers in tasks involving graphs over time. The analyses show that spatial visualization is positively related to performance in some systems thinking inventory tasks and is negatively related to responses that show correlation heuristic reasoning.” The article is now available as an Early View publication from Systems Research and Behavioral Science. The full article can be accessed on the Wiley Online Library.

New York Times talks about a publication by member Navid Ghaffarzadegan
On July 14, 2016, the New York Times featured an article written by Gina Kolata titled “So Many Research Scientists, So Few Openings as Professors,” which discusses the challenges of academic job market for PhD graduates. The article refers to a previous systems analysis done by Richard Larson, Navid Ghaffarzadegan, and Yi Xue on measuring growth in the PhD population in the United States. The original paper, “Too Many PhD Graduates or Too Few Academic Job Openings: The Basic Reproductive Number R0 in Academia,” was published in 2014 in Systems Research and Behavioral Science. As quoted from the abstract, “the academic job market has become increasingly competitive for PhD graduates. In this note, we ask the basic question of ‘Are we producing more PhDs than needed?’ We take a systems approach and offer a ‘birth rate’ perspective: professors graduate PhDs who later become professors themselves, an analogue to how a population grows. We show that the reproduction rate in academia is very high.” The full paper can be viewed on the Wiley Online Library website.

isee systems releases Stella Architect

Last month isee systems announced the release of their new model building program Stella Architect. As stated in the press release, “Stella Architect’s design and publishing capabilities create attractive, engaging, widely shareable models and simulations. “For Stella models to reach an audience and deliver insight, they must engage users, even those with little Systems Thinking or modelling experience,” says Karim Chichakly, co-President isee systems. “Quickly creating and sharing compelling simulations is what Stella Architect is all about.” Stella Architect includes all the functionality of Stella Professional and adds enhanced design and publishing capabilities. “Stella Architect lets System Thinkers go from concept to a full- fledged web experience very simply and effectively,” says Bob Eberlein, co-President isee systems.” Detailed information can be found in the full press release.

New Ph.D.: SDS Member Diana M. Fisher Successfully Defended Her Dissertation in System Science
We are happy to share the news that Diana M. Fisher has successfully defended her dissertation titled Introducing Complex Systems Analysis in High School Mathematics Using System Dynamics Modeling: A Potential Game-Changer for Mathematics Instruction in the System Science Ph.D. Program at Portland State University. Diana is grateful to her Ph.D. committee: Dr. Wayne Wakeland (chair), System Science, Dr. Brian Greer, Mathematics Education, Dr. Ron Narode, Mathematics Education, Dr. Robert Fountain, Statistics, and Dr. Lisa Weasel, Biology who were very supportive. Additionally, Diana would like to thank the SD teachers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute System Dynamics Program, as well as George Richardson and Barry Richmond who provided significant instruction in System Dynamics Modeling in preparation for her doctoral work. Diana is an adjunct professor at Portland State University. On behalf of the Society, congratulations to Dr. Fisher!

New App Available: ISDC 2016 Schedule
A new app has been created specifically for the Delft conference giving you easy access to each day’s scheduled events. The app gives you several helpful options: select a time to see the sessions, select a session to see the papers being presented, select a paper to see the abstract and author, or select the author to see their bio and photo. Download ISDC 2016 Schedule app to your phone to conveniently have all this information at your fingertips! The app is now available at the Apple Store or Google Play store, find it by searching for System Dynamics. You can also access the schedule online.

Plan your days at the Delft conference

We think that you might find yourself quite busy once you arrive in Delft, so please take a moment today to look over the program and note the sessions and activities you don’t want to miss. Use the personal schedule planner (printable) while you preview the schedule. Pencil in all presentations, authors, meetings, ceremonies and special events you want to keep track of. Here are a just few of the events that you will find:

The Delft conference will begin with the PhD Colloquium on Sunday, July 17. The Tentative Schedule lists the events of the day, including a group activity, a participant lunch, plenary presentation and the PhD Colloquium Poster and Networking Session. View the Tentative Schedule to see the titles of all posters, authors and links to the abstracts.

New to the ISDC? Be sure to check out the Newcomer Orientation scheduled on Monday morning. This session will bring together attendees based on topics of interest. Veteran attendees will provide guidance to newcomers, ensuring that they get the full benefit of the conference experience. Learn more about the Society and meet a few of the officers by attending Getting to Know the System Dynamics Society presented on Monday afternoon.

Announcements of award recipients: during the Monday Afternoon Plenary Session announcements will be made for the Dana Meadows Award, the Outstanding Service Award, the Lupina Young Researcher Award, and the Barry Richmond Scholarship Award. On Wednesday morning the Jay W. Forrester Award will be presented. There will also be Best Poster Awards and also a Best E-Participant Award! If you can’t make the conference, check back to the homepage during the week. Names of the award winners will be released on the homepage after being announced in Delft.

During the conference you can refer to the daily online schedule to see what is happening and zoom in on sessions, papers, and presenter bios. You can find the online schedule at the Web Portal under the menu item “Conference Related.” And it you are at the conference or not, please help our social media team tweet about the conference. Follow us on Twitter! The conference will showcase real-time feedback using #ISDC16.

Announcing the Publication of Members’ Article “Let’s Talk Change in a University: A Simple Model for Addressing a Complex Agenda”
Included in the Early View of the journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science is an article titled “Let’s Talk Change in a University: A Simple Model for Addressing a Complex Agenda” by Society members Raafat M. Zaini, Oleg V. Pavlov, Khalid Saeed, and Michael J. Radzicki, along with fellow colleagues Allen H. Hoffman and Kristen R. Tichenor. As stated in the abstract, “This paper reports on a real-life study in a US university. In response to financial issues, the administration at an undergraduate tuition-dependent university pushed for growth in student enrollment. The faculty, who argued that the quality of education had been declining, resisted the expansion. More students also affected the use of the university’s infrastructure. By actively engaging key stakeholders, we developed a simple system dynamics model of university expansion. A major insight suggests that policy decisions made non-holistically might result in counter-intuitive outcomes that could take considerable time from which to recover.” The article is set to be published in a special issue, Education as a Complex System, of which Society member Navid Ghaffarzadegan is the guest editor. The full article can be accessed on the Wiley Online Library.

Member Stefan Groesser Appointed Visiting Professor at Heilbronn University Graduate School, Germany
Member Stefan Groesser has been appointed as a visiting Professor at Heilbronn University Graduate School (HUGS), starting September 2016. At the HUGS, he will be lecturing on research methods and research designs. Stefan is currently a professor of Strategic Management and Organization at the Bern University of Applied Sciences and a senior lecturer at the Institute of Management, University of St. Gallen. He applies System Dynamics to his research on business model, strategy, and technology management. Stefan holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He is an author of articles and peer-review journals, including the System Dynamics Review, and books with, for example, Wiley and Springer. More information is available at and On behalf of the Society, congratulations and good luck to Stefan!”

Some of the Latest News Headline Topics Presented at the Delft ISDC
Explore the understanding and management of resources including governance, social welfare, equity, justice, political science, urban dynamic, infrastructure, and transportation in the presentations within the Resources thread at the Delft conference. The parallel presentations are grouped into three sessions titled “Energy & Efficiency Rebounds,” “Socio-technical Energy Transitions,” and “Biomass Deployment.” Poster presentations in the Resources thread are in the session titled “Market Dynamics of Resources.” The Energy SIG Annual Meeting has also been scheduled in this thread.

The Security thread presentations concern issues related to security including defense, conflict, military, insurgency and counterinsurgency, social unrest, disaster management, crime, policing and incarceration. Presentations are divided among the two part parallel session “Conflict, Defense, and Security,” and a poster session. Also on the schedule is the Conflict, Defense and Security SIG Annual Meeting.

The Resources thread and the Security thread are just two of the fourteen threads at the Delft conference, see the full list of the Threads for 2016 and the Tentative Schedule of conference presentations and meetings on our website. Please visit the Draft Program Overview by Thread to view the titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, as well as some papers and supporting material.

Jay W. Forrester Featured in Four Centuries on Innovation Exhibit at Logan International Airport in Boston

Jay W. Forrester’s invention of the computer’s first core memory in 1946 is featured in Four Centuries of Innovation, an exhibit at Logan International Airport in Boston that highlights the history of Massachusetts as a center of innovation. Of the nearly 600 innovations complied, Jay was one of the 49 selected to be included in the exhibit. Exhibit creators Robert Krim of Framingham State University and Janey Bishoff of Bishoff Communications note that “Each of the Massachusetts innovations made such a significant impact on life or society, that it changed the nation or the world.” Four Centuries of Innovations opened in June in the new connection between Terminals C and E at Logan International. On display in this corridor exhibition are 49 wall mounted tiles, as well as a sixteen screen video installation, featuring innovations in medicine, technology, education, bio-technology, and social and cultural advancements. The exhibit has gained much attention from visitors and will remain as a permanent fixture at Logan International Airport.


System Dynamics Used in Predicting Population with Alzheimer’s Disease in the EU
The article “Prediction of population with Alzheimer’s disease in the European Union using a System Dynamics model” was recently published by Dove Press in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. The article is the work of Hana Tomaskova, Jitka Kuhnova, Richard Cimler, Ondrej Dolezal and Kamil Kuca, of the University of Hradec Králové in the Czech Republic. In this research, the simulation software STELLA was used with population data from Eurostat to create the model. As stated in the article, “System Dynamics modeling approach has been used for the prediction of the number of patients with AD in the EU population till the year 2080. These results can be used to determine the economic burden of the treatment of these patients. With different input data, the simulation can be used also for the different regions as well as for different noncontagious disease predictions.” The full article is available online at Dove Press.

Member Benjamin Chang-Kwon Chung Introduces Systems Dynamics to High School Students in South Korea
Member Benjamin Chang-Kwon Chung reports success in bringing System Dynamics into the K-12 program in South Korea. Through social media, Professor Chung has introduced a modeling program based on Pamela Lee Hopkins’ “Simulating Hamlet in the classroom” published in the System Dynamics Review Vol 8, Issue 1. Chung’s efforts in the classroom were published on June 21, 2016, in Chosunilbo, a top daily national newspaper in South Korea. The article describes that after students analyzed the text, they “…were arranged in groups of four and each assigned and submitted a rating. Professor Chung then used a computer simulation to quantify the play with those scores.” While speaking of this new type of curriculum, Professor Chung states “I hope many people can develop their imaginations through the meetings of humanities and engineering. I want to see Systems Thinking permeate South Korea.” Read more about Professor Chung’s “Shakespeare’s Hamlet Modeling program” in the full article.

Public Policy Thread at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
Public Policy thread at the Delft conference will feature plenary and parallel presentations concerning the issues in public policy including governance, social welfare, equity, justice, political science, urban dynamics, infrastructure and transportation. The Monday morning plenary session titled “Uncertainty, Risk and Recovery” is comprised of three presentations:

On Addressing Grand Challenges and Complex Issues: Dealing with More Than Just Dynamic Complexity, by Erik Pruyt, Willem Auping, Philipp Schwarz, Jan Kwakkel, and Tushith Islam, all from Delft University of Technology.
Business Tsunami: In Between Black Swans and Little White Lies, by Henk Akkermans from Tilburg University.
A Dynamic Feedback Theory of Community Recovery from Shock Events, by Prof. David Ford, from Texas A&M University and Bruce Keith, Professor of Technology at the United States Military Academy.

The parallel and poster presentations are divided among nine sessions. In the Public Policy thread there is a scheduled meeting for the development of a new Transportation Special Interest Group. The Draft Program Overview by Thread and the Tentative Schedule provide the titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, as well as some papers and supporting material.

New PhD: Member Vincent de Gooyert Passes the Examination of His PhD
We are happy to share the news that member Vincent de Gooyert has recently passed the examination of his PhD dissertation! Vincent is Assistant Professor at Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University. Vincent gratefully acknowledges those individuals and organizations in the System Dynamics community who contributed to and supported him in the development of his PhD thesis, titled “Stakeholder Dynamics in the Dutch Energy Transition.” His supervisors were Etiënne Rouwette, Hans van Kranenburg, and Edward Freeman. An article based on the research, titled “Sustainability transition dynamics: towards overcoming policy resistance,” has just been published in the journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change. Congratulations Dr. de Gooyert! The Society wishes you much success.

Complimentary Live Webinar
July 13, 2016
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (EDT)
Followed by a live Q&A on Facebook

How can we respond to climate change? Can we build an economy powered by clean, renewable energy in time? Does the agreement forged at the recent Paris climate conference (COP21) deliver us from catastrophe, or is it another diplomatic disappointment? How can the science be made accessible to the policymakers, the media, and the public at large?

Join MIT Sloan Professor John Sterman on July 13 for a one-hour, complimentary webinar to experience an interactive simulation—developed by Sterman and his colleagues—that helps people understand climate change and the long-term climate impacts of policy scenarios.

This online event, The Dynamics of Climate Change—from the Political to the Personal, will explore the dynamics of the climate interactively and suggest what we can do both professionally and personally to build a safer, sustainable world. Known as C-ROADS, this award-winning modeling software has been used by more than 15,000 people, including policy makers and negotiators, in 53 nations around the world, and is freely available to participants in the webinar.

Participants of this webinar will learn:
Why discussions on climate change have led to so much public confusion
The state of climate policy after the Paris agreement
What we can do to manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable
What impact you can have in your community

The webinar will be followed by a live Q&A with Professor Sterman on Facebook.

Who should attend:
This webinar is designed for innovators for sustainability in private, public, NGO, and hybrid sectors, as well as anyone interested in climate policy and sustainability.

About the presenter:
John Sterman’s research focuses on improving managerial decision making in complex systems. He has pioneered the development of “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems now used by businesses and universities around the world. He is the author of Modeling for Learning Organizations and the award-winning textbook, Business Dynamics. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Fortune, The Financial Times, and BusinessWeek, among others. He has received eight awards for “Teaching Excellence” at MIT, as well as numerous other honors.

To view the full post click here.

New Postings in Conference Sponsor Notes
This year our sponsors will be posting information to Conference Sponsor Notes before, during and after the Delft conference. Check our website’s Conference Sponsor Notes frequently to stay informed on all the latest conference news and updates from sponsors. Highlights from a few of the recent posts are noted below.

Copernicos Groep invites you to a kick-off meeting to start a brand new special interest group, the Asset Dynamics SIG. As quoted from the post, the “Aim of the SIG is applying System Dynamics for the management of complex technical systems, complex inter- and intra-organizational collaboration, multi actor/stakeholder involvement and long term interests.” The Asset Dynamics e-poster can be viewed on our website; other SIG e-posters will be available soon.

Whole Systems Partnership has posted news promoting their conference presentation Relational value as a key model intangible. WSP invites conference attendees to join this “discussion starter” on the topic of relational thinking in health and social care.

Delft University of Technology has shared information about the Vermeer exhibition at the Museum Prinsenhof Delft. The exhibition Vermeer is coming home/The Little Street returns to Delft, which closes on July 17th, is a “must see” for those who will be in Delft before the start of the conference.

Announcing the Call for Papers for Journal of Simulation
The Journal of Simulation has announced a call for papers for a special issue on the topic of System Dynamics. As described on their web page, “The journal provides a single source of accessible research and practice in the fast developing field of discrete-event simulation, System Dynamics and agent-based modelling.” Martin Kunc, Sally Brailsford and member John Morecroft have been selected as guest editors of this special issue. The announcement states “the journal is interested in submissions that discuss: mode conceptualization, model development and testing, policy development, and other areas.” The deadline for submission is March 31st, 2017. Specific information on submission guidelines and dates can be found on the call for papers.

Operations Thread at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
The Operations thread at the ISDC relates to the business and other process operations including: capacity management, quality control, operations management, supply chains, workflow, queuing, and workforce planning. There are three plenary sessions in the Operations thread. Jürgen Strohhecker and Michael Leyer will present Intelligence and (Mis) Understanding of Accumulation as Explaining Factors of Stock Management Failures. J. Bradley Morrison and Robert Wears will discuss their case study in Why Patient Assignment and Teamwork in the Emergency Department is Challenging: A Simple Stock and Flow Insight. Paulo Gonçalves and Simplice Kamdem will present Evidence-Based Policy Design for HIV/AIDS Response Programs in Côte. Parallel presentations in the Operations thread are divided into two sessions titled “Sustainability in Urban Context” and “Managing Quality and Performance in Operations.” The Draft Program Overview by Thread and the Tentative Schedule provides the titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, as well as some papers and supporting material.

Research Seminar Preceding Vennix’s Valedictory Lecture at Radboud University
A research seminar was held on June 27th that preceded Jac Vennix’s valedictory lecture at Radboud University. About 25 researchers attended the seminar entitled, “New developments in participatory modelling and conceptualization.”

Presentations from Radboud University included: Group model building—Be prepared by Marleen McCardle, Group model building in an intercultural perspective by Inge Bleijenbergh, The development and validation of a team level cultural intelligence scale by Hubert Korzilius, Conflict, power and group model building by Etiënne Rouwette, and Five ways to use system dynamics for theoretical contributions by Vincent de Gooyert. The event also featured David Lane of the University of Reading presenting GMB work for the Munro review of child protection and The supply line bias—less problematic than assumed? by Andreas Größler of the University of Stuttgart.

Jac participated in the lively discussions and provided links between the works presented and the farewell speech that he gave later that day. He thanked all participants and attendants for the high quality of the talks and the contributions to the discussion.

In addition, Methods, Model Building and Management: A liber amicorum for Jac Vennix has been published in honor of Jac’s retirement. The liber amicorum (book of friends), edited by Inge Bleijenbergh, Hubert Korzilius and Etiënne Rouwette, can be found here. The book and each chapter has been added to the System Dynamics Bibliography. To see the list of references, go to the Bibliographic Updates Webpage under Updated Information for references other than journals.

The University of Witwatersrand Now Offering Free Online Courses
Creamer Media’s Engineering News has recently published the news that the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa will be offering free online courses. System Dynamics for Health Sciences, instructed by member David Rubin, is the first of three courses that are being launched. As stated in the article “ The System Dynamics for Health Sciences, which would educate learners on how to use system dynamics to better understand complex medical issues and intervention, would be taught by Wits biomedical engineering Adjunct Professor David Rubin, Wits biomedical engineer and lecturer Robyn Letts and Johns Hopkins University Professor Tak Igusa.” View the full article to learn more about this course and other courses that are being launched in an effort to increase access to higher education.

Annual Chapter Meetings Scheduled at the ISDC
The System Dynamics Society Chapters are formed by active and committed Society members to strengthen interaction among their group and to enhance their ability to reach other people. Each Chapter will hold its annual meeting at the conference in Delft. Please visit the Draft Program Overview by Thread and the Tentative Schedule to view these meetings and all the events that will take place at the conference. Chapter meetings that are scheduled, including links to each of the abstracts, are listed below.

Africa Regional Chapter Annual Meeting, by Ddembe Williams Abstract
Asia Pacific Chapters Meeting, by Robert Cavana Abstract
Australasia Chapter Annual Meeting, by Robert Cavana Abstract
Benelux Chapter Annual Meeting, by Martijn Eskinasi Abstract
Brazil Chapter Annual Meeting, by Karim Chichakly, Ricardo Chaim Abstract
China Chapter Annual Meeting, by Haiyan Yan, Ying Qian Abstract
German Chapter Informal Gathering, by Florian Kapmeier Abstract
Iran Chapter Annual Meeting, by Babak Bahaddin Abstract
Latin America Chapter Annual Meeting, by Gloria Perez Salazar Abstract
Russian Chapter Annual Meeting, by Natalia Lychkina Abstract
South Africa Chapter Annual Meeting and Roundtable, by Josephine Musango Abstract
Student Chapter Annual Meeting, by Yekatherina Bobrova Abstract
Swiss Chapter Annual Meeting, by Birgit Kopainsky Abstract
System Dynamics Italian Chapter (SYDIC) Annual Meeting, by Stefano Armenia Abstract
UK Chapter Annual Meeting, by Douglas McKelvie Abstract

There are also Chapters located in India, Japan, Korea, and Pakistan. Information about all of our Chapters can be found on our website.

System Dynamics Modeling with R – a Newly Published Book by Jim Duggan
Member Jim Duggan, Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland Galway, has just published System Dynamics Modeling with R, which is part of the Springer Lecture Notes on Social Networks.

This book provides a practical introduction to System Dynamics, and explains key model structures including material delays, stock management heuristics, and how to model effects between different system elements. Examples from epidemiology, health systems and economics are presented, and the R programming language is used to provide an open-source and interoperable way to build System Dynamics models.

The book also presents techniques that can enhance client confidence in System Dynamic models, including model testing, calibration, and statistical screening. The book is written for undergraduate and postgraduate students of System Dynamics, simulation, computer science and applied mathematics.

The choice of R as a modeling language makes it an ideal reference text for those wishing to integrate System Dynamics modeling with related data science methods and techniques.

Methodology Thread at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
Explore the contributions to the methodology of System Dynamics, modeling and simulation including model development, model analysis, validation, graphical presentation formats, and computational techniques in the sessions of the Methodology thread at the Delft conference.

In the plenary session “Implementation and Politics,” Alexander Voigt, from Greenwood Strategic Advisors, and Florian Kapmeier, from ESB Business School of Reutlingen University, will present A Mismatch Between Aspirations and Reality: Why Are We Letting Black Swans Pass Us By? Also in this plenary session, John Sterman, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will give his presentation titled The Paris Climate Agreement: Do Models Really Matter? What Must We Do Now?

There will also be over twenty parallel and poster presentations within the following sessions: Multi Methods/Cross Methods, SD Taxonomy, Model Methods, Team and Methods, System Dynamics and Systems Thinking, and Cross/Multi Methods.

Additionally, there are twelve workshop sessions scheduled within the Methodology thread. View the Draft Program Overview by Thread or the Tentative Schedule to see a list of these workshop sessions, titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts. Meetings scheduled in the Methodology thread include a Model Analysis Roundtable and the SIG-MA Annual Meeting. Tweet your comments to #ISDC16.

Professor Qifan Wang’s Memorial Service
Prof. Qifan Wang’s memorial service was held at the Xibaoxing Road Funeral Home on Saturday, June 4, 2016. There were around 150 people who attended including Prof. Wang’s family members, friends, colleagues and students et al. “We reviewed his past, his contributions, and his personality charm with deep grief” says Haiyan Yan, Representative of China Chapter of the System Dynamics Society, who has kindly shared the following summary of the memorial service.

More than 20 professional and university groups placed flower baskets at the memorial service and dozens of flower baskets were from Professor Wang’s colleagues, friends and relatives. Some of the families and friends who were unable to attend the memorial service sent messages of condolences. Among them, China Association for International Economic Cooperation’s vice president Professor Xiashan Chen et al. Professor Xia wrote a long article “Remembrance of Management Master – Professor Wang Qifan” which was issued on the Twenty-fourth Chinese Biz News on June 11, 2016.

At the memorial service, Prof. Lihua Huang, secretary of School of Management, Fudan University, introduced Professor Wang Qifan’s lifetime and his indelible contribution to the development of System Dynamics in China. Student representatives, Dr. Li Lingling memorialized Professor Qifan Wang’s guidance and love to his students. Mr. Shoukim Shen, on behalf of the students of Professor Wang’s Alma Mater Tsinghua University made a speech. Finally, Professor Wang’s son Mr. Min Wang, on behalf of the relatives, thanked all the guests present at the memorial service, as well as those who sent wreaths and message of condolence. All the guests bowed and sent flowers one by one.

Professor Wang’s students from Fudan University, Tongji University and other overseas universities, distributed in all parts of the world, all walks of life, memorialized their teacher through social media. Prof. Qifan Wang, one of the most widely beloved master and profoundly influential scholar of all-time, leaves an indelible imprint on System Dynamics, leads us to harbor ideals, and march forward courageously.

AnyLogic’s Simulation and Modeling Software Selected by Ford Motor Company
An article in the web based news Virtual Strategy Magazine, June 2016, shares that the Ford Motor Company has chosen AnyLogic software to model real world concepts in a virtual setting to gain insight from global data and analytics. As noted in the article, “Simulation modeling is a tool that allows organizations to model the real world in a virtual environment; look at systems from a clearer viewpoint, and run what-if scenarios of proposed variations without disruptions to the current system. AnyLogic’s unique multi-method capabilities enable system dynamics, agent-based, and discrete-event modeling in one modeling environment for a more accurate representation of the real system.” To learn more, please see the full article in Virtual Strategy Magazine.

Learning and Teaching Thread at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
The Learning and Teaching thread at the Delft conference will focus on the manner in which system skills are taught and learned including pedagogy, learning experiments, curriculum development, workshop design and interactivities designed to be a part of an educational experience. Session titles in this thread include: Group Modeling and Debriefing, Research on Leaning Systems Dynamics, and Games, Learning, and Teaching. Workshop sessions in the Learning and Teaching thread include:

Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling for Math and Science Instruction: Online Professional Development Opportunity
Creating Interactive Simulations Online with Forio Epicenter
Teaching Students to Create Original Models in a Ten-Week Course
Getting Started with Powersim Studio
Feedback Rich Model Construction
Getting Started with Stella Designer

Titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, as well as some papers and supporting material, are available in the Draft Program Overview by Thread and in the Tentative Schedule. Tweet your comments to #ISDC16.

Member Stephen Cucchiaro Featured in Current Issue of Bloomberg Magazine
Member Stephen Cucchiaro, president of 3Edge Asset Management in Boston, is featured in a story in the Bloomberg Markets magazine. The article, written by Jon Asmundsson, reveals how Stephen developed an investment method using complex systems. Stephen had studied complex systems as a math major at MIT and went on to study finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It was at the Wharton School that “he began to realize that global capital markets are a perfect example of complex systems.” As a management consultant, economist, and entrepreneur, Stephen has started several investment firms, 3Edge Asset Management is the latest. He states “…part of our approach is to identify asset classes that are not only undervalued but where there’s a catalyst that we can identify.” As a result, gold and emerging markets became his current focus. The full article can be seen in the June/July issue of Bloomberg Markets.

Early Conference Registration Rates Available Until Thursday, June 23
In response to the issues we have experienced this week with our website, we have extended early bird registration rates for #ISDC16 until Thursday, June 23. Don’t miss out on events like the pre-conference Summer School, PhD Colloquium, Modeling Assistance Workshop, Model Expo, Climate Change Hackathon, and Workshop Day. Register now to take advantage of the discounted rates!

Report on Impact Factor for the System Dynamics Review
This week Thomson Reuters published their Journal Citation Reports for 2015. We are pleased to announce that the Impact Factor for System Dynamics Review has risen by 34% from 1.026 to 1.37. The journal has now moved up in position in its two ISI subject categories rankings. In the Management category, the journal ranks 91st out of 192 titles, and the journal is 20th out of 49 titles in the Social Sciences, Mathematical Methods category. Yaman Barlas, Executive Editor of the System Dynamics Review, notes “These numbers reflect that the journal is moving in the right direction, thanks to my predecessor Rogelio Oliva and the editorial team.”

SIG Meetings Scheduled at the ISDC
Most of the Special Interest Groups of the System Dynamics Society will host their annual meetings at the Delft conference. Please visit the Draft Program Overview by Thread and the Tentative Schedule to view the scheduled meetings taking place at the conference. The following list includes the SIG meetings on schedule with a link to each of the abstracts.

Business SIG Annual Meeting, by Seth Cordes Abstract
Environmental SIG Annual Meeting, by Shane Carnohan, La Tonya Walker Abstract
Health Policy Special Interest Group Business Meeting, by Michael Dill Abstract
Biomedical SIG Annual Meeting, by Jim Rogers, Edward Gallaher Abstract
Psychology SIG Annual Meeting, by David Lounsbury Abstract
iSIG Annual Meeting, by Stefano Armenia, Eliot Rich Abstract
Model Analysis Roundtable and SIG-MA Annual Meeting, by James Houghton Abstract
Development of a Transportation Special Interest Group, by Simon Shepherd Abstract
Energy SIG Annual Meeting, by George Matthew Abstract
Conflict, Defense and Security SIG Annual Meeting, by Ignacio Martinez-Moyano, Edward Anderson Abstract

Special Interest Groups bring together members who share interest in a particular area. For more information or to join a SIG, please visit our website.

Presiding Rector Magnificus Bas Kortmann (middle) surrounded by System Dynamics professors Etiënne Rouwette, Jac Vennix, Pål Davidsen, Peter Milling, David Lane, Andreas Größler

Member Jac Vennix Gives Valedictory Lecture at Radboud University

On May 27th, Jac Vennix held his valedictory lecture Management Science: that can be quite an art at Radboud University. It served the purpose to get the System Dynamics and Group Model Building message across to a wider audience, including colleague professors and members of the University Board. Subjects discussed in the lecture included a.o.: SD: origins and basic assumptions, the Limits to Growth study (recent research shows that real developments over the last 40 years come closest to the standard scenario of LtG), SD modelling as a learning process, the need to involve stakeholders, GMB and group facilitation, the EMSD (European Master in System Dynamics) program (combining the “science of model building” with the “art of facilitation”), as well as results of evaluation studies on the effectiveness of GMB. The lecture was well received by the audience. With that lecture Jac Vennix effectively has become professor emeritus as of June 1st. On behalf of the Society, congratulations to Jac!

Jac Vennix delivering his valedictory lecture
Jac Vennix receiving a ‘liber amicorum’ offered by his colleagues Hubert Korzilius, Etiënne Rouwette and Inge Bleijenbergh

Climate Change Hackathon at Delft Conference
At the Delft Conference, the IBM Academy of Technology is hosting a hackathon to model the impact of climate changes on vulnerable populations over time. We know that climate change shut down agriculture in Syria in 2006-7 and created urban conditions of unemployment and social tension that erupted into Civil War. We want to understand the social, economic, cultural, and political ramifications of subtle and overt climate changes on societies and the way they may adapt in the future. We want to develop an international community of model developers creating re-usable model components in XMILE that can help any community in any nation to understand the long tail effects of climate change by linking SD models to Open Data resources. All models will be open source, stored online in libraries, and presented to decision-makers at an event in Washington DC in October. Please bring your computer and your ideas. XMILE-compatible modeling software will be provided for those who need it. To learn more and see the materials provided for background reading to inform the conversation, please visit the Tentative Schedule and search on “Hackathon.” Participation is open to conference attendees. To register for the conference please click here for details.

See what System Dynamics students are doing!
This webpage highlights student papers scheduled for presentation at the upcoming System Dynamics Conference in Delft, Netherlands, to be held July 17 – 21, 2016. Please take a moment to read through the important works of these hard-working students. (If you are a student with an accepted paper that does not appear in this list please contact the Society). To learn more about System Dynamics Society student events, please visit the Student Chapter Website and LinkedIn Group. To help support students to attend the conference, please consider donating today to our Conference Scholarship Fund.

Announcing the Publication of Dynamic Performance Management by Carmine Bianchi

Member Carmine Bianchi is the author of the recently published book Dynamic Performance Management. In his book, Carmine provides “…useful resource to help design and implement performance management systems using System Dynamics approach.” A summary of Dynamic Performance Management states “This book explores how to design and implement planning & control (P&C) systems that can help organizations to manage their growth and restructuring processes in a sustainability perspective. The book is not designed to enable the reader to become an experienced System Dynamics modeler; rather, it aims to develop the reader’s capabilities to design and implement performance management systems by using a System Dynamics approach.” Carmine Bianchi is a Professor of Business and Public Management at the University of Palermo in Italy, and director of the Master level program in Public Management.

Development Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach, a Newly Published Book by Khalid Saeed
Member Khalid Saeed, a Professor of Economics and System Dynamics at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has written many articles and two books on the topic of using System Dynamics to approach economic, organizational and political subjects. Khalid’s latest publication, the Kindle edition of Development Planning and Policy Design: A System Dynamics Approach, explores the use of System Dynamics to tackle problems of poverty, environment and governance matters. In the foreword of the book, Dennis Meadows, from the University of New Hampshire, writes “In his exposition, Khalid has not proceeded to build a single complicated model subsuming all complex social and ecological relationships existing in a national organization, but has sliced the planning problem into three abstract subsystems concerning, respectively, economic growth and income distribution, management of physical resources and technology and the functioning of the political organization.”

Parallel Presentations at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
Parallel sessions have been scheduled in the morning and afternoon on each day of the Delft conference. The Information and Knowledge Thread and the Strategy Thread are a couple of the many threads included in the schedule.

The Information and Knowledge Thread at the conference relates to the dynamics of information and knowledge including knowledge management, information systems, social network analysis, research and development, invention, and innovation. There will be three parallel presentations in the Information and Knowledge Thread. The iSIG Annual Meeting has also been scheduled in this thread.

Another thread at the conference is the Strategy Thread. There are three parallel presentations in this thread involve the development, communication and implementation of strategy, including strategic thinking, goal definition, and outcome measures for public and private organizations.

Titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, as well as some papers and supporting material, are available in the Draft Program Overview by Thread and in the Tentative Schedule.

Leading Sustainable Transformation Workshop, June 21-23, 2016, Ashland, MA
The Society for Organizational Learning’s workshop “Leading Sustainable Transformation,” facilitated by Peter Senge and Darcy Winslow, will be held June 21-23, 2016, at the Warren Center in Ashland, Massachusetts. This highly interactive workshop is a synthesis of core organizational learning disciplines — systems thinking, mental models and collaborative inquiry, personal mastery and building shared vision — and the practical know-how captured in the book, The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge, et al. This workshop will focus on how these core learning disciplines can build capabilities for Sustainability Leadership — seeing systems, collaborating across boundaries with ease, and shifting from reactive problem solving to creating new futures. Learn more about the Leading Sustainable Transformation and other workshops by visiting the Society for Organizational Learning website.

Cooper Human Systems (CHS) Announces Commercial Availability of Discovery2
A second generation modeling service, Discovery2, designed by CHS engineers, System Dynamics Modelers, and immunologists “demonstrates and predicts the human efficacy of drug combinations and protocols aimed at curing complex diseases related to the human immune system,” according to a press release on Business Wire.

By simulating the effects of various drug combinations on diseases such as HIV and some cancers and neurological disorders, Discovery2 “helps pharma partners predict winners, but just as importantly, assists in identifying losers: those compounds which will not succeed in human trials,” the press release continues.

“The ability to foresee eventual trial results and abandon (lose early) and re-architect portions of pharma’s development pipeline should save the pharma industry decades of time and billions of dollars currently spent in failed clinical trial pipelines of complex immune system disorders,” said John Stafford, CEO at Cooper. “We believe the Cooper Discovery2 service provides a truly breakout series of value-added benefits to pharma partners, including enormous cost savings, improved pipeline confidence, accelerated time to market, longer duration revenue streams, and scientific and competitive advantage.”

Ken Cooper, Chairman of Cooper Human Systems, is a member and VP Professional Practice of the System Dynamics Society.

Education Innovation from a System Thinking Perspective and an Indigenous Worldview
The Walking with the Sun project has the objective of promoting an Educative Innovation from a system thinking (ST) perspective and an indigenous worldview. The core of the project is the elaboration of a trilingual book (Odhame, Rarámuri and Spanish) about intercultural education, complementary to the formal plan of the Mexican Education Ministry. The book is composed of didactic exercises created using a ST methodology called TRIZ (Theory of inventive problem solving). This project has two overall goals: 1) making contribution for rethinking and performing school activities in a more creative way from a learning and cultural reassessment perspective and 2) becoming a tool replicable in other communities in Mexico or Latin America.

In the following days the research team will be piloting the didactic material with kids from the Tarahumara mountain range, Chihuahua, Mexico. Playing, singing and imagining are considered key pedagogic assets, by doing so kids are able to incorporate their own way of being in their daily school activities. Accordingly, this project acknowledges their laughs and jokes as part of the kids learning process, potentiating their intelligence and curiosity, but more important, allowing a cognitive channel where their environment knowledge, themselves and their community realization take a fundamental place in their education.

For more information, including how to support the project, or to get in touch with the research team, please visit our webpage or write an email to us.

This project is opening a new working area for the research team, which explores the links between system thinking and indigenous worldviews for a sustainability education. Research centers, professors or similar projects references or suggestions are sought within our community to explore further collaborations.

Human Behavior Thread at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
Explore the dynamics of human behavior in the social environments of families, communities, organizations, culture and society including individual and social psychology attending sessions in the Human Behavior thread at the #ISDC16 conference. There are three presentations scheduled in Human Behavior plenary session. Organizational consultant and coach, Alexander Zock will discuss Irrelevance, irrationality and irresponsibility, the three curses of the organizational use of System Dynamics. Laura Black, Associate Professor at Montana State University, will present From situated action to model abstraction—and back again. The plenary, Power and influence: developing a generic political archetype, will be presented by Robert Cavana, Vicky Forgie, Marjan van den Belt, Alvaro Romera, Keming Wang, John Cody, and Chris Browne.

There are three presentations within the parallel session titled “Human Behavior: The Challenge of Performance,” and seven poster presentations in the session titled “Emotions, Learning, and Decision Making.” Titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, as well as some papers and supporting material, are available in the Draft Program Overview by Thread. The Psychology SIG Annual Meeting has been scheduled in the Human Behavior thread.

Exhibitor Showcase at #ISDC16

Don’t forget we offer exhibitor demonstrations and software users’ group meetings at our annual conference. Discover the latest products and services in System Dynamics when you visit the exhibitor hall this year at the Delft Conference, July 17-21, 2016.

Health Thread at the Delft System Dynamics Conference
Issues related to health and health care, including health policy, health services research, population health and physiology, will be discussed in the presentations within the Health thread at the #ISDC16 conference. Over twenty presentations in the Health thread are divided into parallel and poster sessions titled: Epidemiology, Population Health, Health Care Delivery, Health Risk Management, Health Systems, Humanitarian Response, and Health Ecology. The following meetings are also on schedule: Biomedical SIG Annual Meeting and the pre-conference Health Policy Special Interest Group Business Meeting.

Please visit the Draft Program Overview by Thread to see the titles of all presentations, authors, and links to abstracts, some papers and supporting materials.

Member David Keith Appointed to the Mitsui Career Development Professorship at MIT Sloan
Member David Keith has been appointed to the Mitsui Career Development Professorship at MIT Sloan, starting July 1, 2016. David is an assistant professor in the System Dynamics group at MIT Sloan, where he researches topics including alternative fuel vehicle diffusion and transportation policy, and teaches masters and doctoral classes in system dynamics modeling. Appointment to career development chairs, quoting deputy dean, Prof. Ezra Zuckerman, recognize David’s “accomplishments and future promise as an outstanding scholar and educator.” David completed his PhD in the Engineering Systems Division at MIT in 2012, and is a previous recipient of the Dana Meadows Award from the System Dynamics Society. On behalf of the System Dynamics Society, congratulations to David!

Announcing the Publication of Member Khalid Saeed’s book Towards Sustainable Development
The Kindle edition of Towards Sustainable Development 3rd Edition: Essays on System Analysis of National Policy by Khalid Saeed is now available. The book’s summary describes the work as “a collection of essays on economic development using System Dynamics modeling and computer simulation.” Khalid, a professor of economics and System Dynamics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, would like to acknowledge Raafat Zaini and Raid Zaini for spearheading this project.

Climate Interactive’s Elizabeth Sawin Gives Keynote Honoring Her Mentor, Donella Meadows
On May 19, 2016, at the Leadership Upper Valley Heroes & Leaders event, Elizabeth Sawin gave a keynote speech about her mentor Donella Meadows. Sawin, Co-Director of the Climate Interactive, spoke about learning the process of mentoring from Donella (Dana) Meadows, who was her mentor from 1995-2001.

A blog post by Shanna Edberg on the Climate Interactive’s website features the list of the six traits of mentorship highlighted in Elizabeth Sawin’s speech. “Donella Meadows influenced so much about my life, especially where I live and the work that I do. In reflecting on how it is that she had such a significant impact, I realized that there were six habits and attitudes that she cultivated that made her a powerful influence not just on me, but on hundreds of other people.” The full post can be viewed on the Climate Interactive website.

Ventity Beta
At the System Dynamics conference this summer, we’ll be showing and teaching Vensim’s companion, Ventity.

What’s new and different about Ventity? The really big change from most simulation languages is that we’ve replaced arrays with lists of entities, identified by attributes. This makes for a more natural and data-friendly problem description. Detail becomes a property of entities, not equations, which makes it a lot easier to coordinate and change.

Entities are modular, so they’re easier to reuse and share among teams. Entities can be created and deleted dynamically, so there’s no need to simulate a lot of zeroes for things that haven’t happened yet. Similarly, a list of entity relationships can represent a sparse matrix, so there’s no need to clutter your model with zeroes for project phases that aren’t prerequisites or relationships that don’t exist among people. All this happens in a development environment with modern, interactive charts and windowing.

Two examples:

A consumer products firm would like to model a portfolio of products across many regional markets, distribution channels, brands and package sizes. Not all of the brands are present in each market, and package options differ for each brand. In traditional SD, it takes a lot of data work to standardize things to work with arrays. With entities, it’s easy – we create a Product entity identified by an SKU, with Market, Channel, Brand and Package attributes, and we simply don’t bother to create combinations that don’t exist. Later, when new products launch, we can add them to the model on the fly.

A health care provider would like to understand the diffusion of information about treatments through the social network of doctors. Doctors don’t know every other doctor, but they’re sparsely related through common practices, specialties and patient referrals. We can explore this as a full agent model, or a semi-aggregate model, in which information is well-mixed within organizations.

We’re already working with these models Ventity, and its entity lists are much easier to work with than arrays. We’re now testing time series data input and optimization for model calibration. We expect the next major beta release to include these capabilities, at which point we’ll be able to tackle a wide variety of industrial-strength work. This is exciting, yet we think we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.

That said, there are still some things that Vensim is really good at, like extreme speed, advanced algorithms and data connectivity, so we’re continuing its development in parallel. We expect it to continue to be the premiere platform for dynamics for a long time.

For more information, please see the registration request, or visit Ventana Systems UK Forum for discussions on the topic of Ventity beta. Learn more in the video demonstration “Getting Started with Ventity.”

Vensim 6.4 Released
Vensim 6.4 is available for download or purchase in the Vensim store.

Upgrades are easy – just visit Vensim’s website, hit the Download Licensed Software button, and enter your license key information.

  • If your maintenance is current, you can download immediately.
  • If you don’t have a current license, you can extend your maintenance easily – just follow the Upgrade link that will be generated.
  • Can’t find your license? Need other options? No problem – contact sales for help, volume quotes and other information.

PLE is always free for educational use, and the Model Reader is free for redistribution of any model. Click here for the free downloads.

6.4 has a number of upgrades including optimization and sensitivity simulation improvements and data import/export new functionality. It includes some new features, including improved dialogs and new data formats for both import and export. We’ve also made internal changes to support faster simulation, cross-platform compatibility and 64-bit operation.

Systems Planning: The ‘Art of Efficiency’, featuring a New Genre of Scholarly Journals

The initiative: Systems Planning– Systems Planning stems from well-known methodological developments in various fields of knowledge, including System Dynamics and Systems Thinking, Project Management, and Strategic Planning. The initiative can be thought of as a ‘holistic conduct platform’ dedicated to ‘the art of efficiency’. Systems Planning is curated by Anastassios (Tasso) Perdicoulis with the help of a select team of scholars from various fields of knowledge.

Particularity and Links to SD/ST– Systems Planning develops and maintains its own planning methodology (SPM) and modelling language (SPML), both of which focus on three related ‘planning objects’: systems (e.g. city, state, enterprise), processes (e.g. operations, projects), and plans (or policies, or strategies) — i.e. a wider scope than System Dynamics or Systems Thinking. Systems Planning models and simulations are qualitative or ‘manual’, but include mark-up (e.g. elements of the planning problem). A common type of diagrams between SD/ ST and Systems planning are their causal diagrams: causal loop diagrams on one side, and reverse blueprints on the other, with the latter featuring semantic mark-up.

Publication and a new genre of scholarly journals– The exploration, refinement, and dissemination of ideas in Systems Planning are secured by an independent editorial venture, which defends open reviews, exceptional quality (e.g. argument, text, diagrams, typesetting), and steering clear of ‘exploitation’ or ‘underground’ publication models. The publications initiative introduces a new genre of scholarly journals designated as ‘lab journals’ that are workspaces for critical thinking, learning, and creative contribution. All publications are open to authors in the spirit, style, scope, and subject matter of Systems Planning, and also open to bona fide and well-intended contributions and feedback such as peer reviews.

The Energy Transition Game
The Energy Transition Game is a role-playing simulation that allows practicing social and technological transformation challenges from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. In this micro-world where energy is essential to ensure the wellbeing of citizens, you can shape the future of the energy sector. Become an energy producer, energy provider, technology start-up, one of the government departments or civil society organizations and create new solutions for the energy system! Energy prices, cost of change, energy demand, harsh competition and consumer satisfaction – they can all affect the outcomes of your decisions.

Can you navigate through the energy transition to arrive at a better, cleaner, and more equitable future?

Each player takes a different role within a complex energy system. Each role is linked with different decisions and responsibilities leaving a space for players to create their own strategies. In an open game world, all players can freely interact with each other, make agreements, put new policies in place, and come up with creative solutions. This way the game simulates the real-life complexity of the energy transition and also creates an environment where innovations are born.

Are you ready to take on the challenges of the energy system transition?

Learn how to navigate through the challenges of energy transition
Explore transition strategies to new energy sources
Experience and understand the complexity of the system-wide change
Develop skills for effective communication and collaboration
Learn how to foster and integrate both technological and social energy innovations

The workshop is appropriate for professionals in any discipline, but is aimed more directly at those who are in an instructional/academic setting. For full details on this and all SD Workshops, to be held in Delft, please visit the Thursday Workshop Schedule.

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