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System Dynamics
NEWSLETTER

Volume 22 – Number 4        October 2009


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Chapter and Special Interest Group News

Business Special Interest Group

The session was chaired by Jeffrey Boyer in two parts – a brief annual meeting and an open discussion of long and short waves in economic activity. In the business meeting, Jeffrey was elected by acclamation to another year as chair of the SIG.

The SIG has put together a list of over thirty research topics of strategic interest.  Kim Warren offered to present that list for consideration to the Society’s Strategic Development Committee.

Business Roundtable
Business SIG Meeting

The open discussion touched on several topics, including evidence for an economic long wave, implications for business consultants and planners, and how strategic issues such as economic long waves can provide a backdrop for market analyses. Participants shared their views on recent technical and popular works on economic long waves. The group discussed the wealth of information contained in the MIT System Dynamics Group Literature Collection. The collection includes research memoranda and thesis research on the System Dynamics National Model, which generates the major observed modes of economic behavior. Participants discussed how to introduce long-wave thinking into the management decision-making process and the different uses for long-view simulations in scenario and other strategic planning venues.

Jim Thompson


China Chapter

From May 29 to 31, 2009, the 3rd International Conference on Systems Science, Management Science & System Dynamics (SSMSSD09) was held in Tongji University, Shanghai, China, which attracted around 110 participants from China mainland, Taiwan, Macao, Canada, USA, Australia and Italy. A total of 398 papers have been accepted by the conference. The conference proceedings were published in Aug. 2009. The conference combined 7 plenary sessions and 8 parallel sessions to discuss the issues of systems science theory and application, management theory and practicing, system dynamics and its application, theory of complexity and sustainable development. The conference was chaired by Prof. Qifan Wang, and hosted by Institute of Development Study, Tongji University, Professional committee of System Dynamics, Systems Engineering Society of China and chapters of Asia-Pacific Area, System Dynamics Society. Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade acted as a co-host.

On May 30, 2009, the Chapter hosted a SD group meeting with about 30 participants who are involved in SD education and research in China. Most of the participants came from varies universities, and teach SD in undergraduate and graduate programs. They believed that SSMSSD conference is helpful for promoting SD education and research in China. Someone suggested that the conference to be held every year, instead of every other year, and in different universities. Other aperiodic chapter meetings were held at least three times per year. The latest meeting was held on August 13, 2009, which discussed the possibility of hosting the 4th conference and other organizational issues.

2009 is also a prosperous year in China's educational and academic achievement. A System Dynamics Lab was established at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade in September, 2009, which serves as a platform in SD-related teaching and research. The training program of Vensim and SD modeling workshops were held on November 22-23, 2008 and July 3-4, 2009 in Shanghai, and around 25 scholars were getting involved. Three books on System Dynamics were published as listed below.

"System Dynamics (in Chinese, revised edition 2009)" was published by Shanghai Unversity of Finance & Economics Press on July 1, 2009. A majority of chapters on basic theories are edited and updated well in the newly revised edition by Prof. Qifan Wang et al.

"System Dynamics (in Chinese)" compiled by Yongguang Zhong and Xiaojing Jia et al. was published in January, 2009 by Science Press. The textbook is listed as the teaching materials of the 11th Five-Year Plan for National Regular Higher Education. With the aim of cultivating the ability of systems thinking, it introduces the theories and applications by series of teaching cases which can be easily perceived and understood. The textbook is suitable for readers with all levels even those without deep math background and work experiences.

The Chinese version of "Business Dynamics, Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World" ( Sterman John D. New York: Irwin McGraw-Hill, 2000) was published by Tsinghua University Press in June, 2008 with the effort of associate professors Yan Zhu and Yongguang Zhong et al.

With respect to membership, one of the chapter's main concern is to encourage the participation in the System Dynamics Society. Hope the effort will take effect in the coming year.

Haiyan Yan


Economics Chapter

The economics chapter announced the agenda of the chapter meeting in the chapter’s mailing-list before the conference, as well as in the chapter poster session at the site, as follows:
・Election of officers
・Organization of the chapter and its web site
・Creation of a chapter archive for open economic models
・Other


Economics Chapter Meeting

Chapter activities to follow:

1. Election of officers

We unanimously elected our next chapter officers serving from Aug. 2009 through July 2010:
President, Brian Dangerfield and President-elect, Martin Schaffernicht.

Congratulations to Brian and Martin, and thank you for carrying chapter activities into the future. Our choice of the chapter officers is ideal; it is diversified among world-wide regions: North America, Europe, East Asia, and, this time, South America. This diversification is an encouraging trend for our chapter activities.

2. Organization of the chapter and its web site

As an organizational reform, a two-year term for presidency was discussed for promoting consistent activities under the visionary leadership of the president. It was concluded, however, that the current term might be appropriate for the time being.
Instead, it was raised that our web site needs be updated to meet the need for growing demand for our chapter activities, specifically in collaboration with non-system dynamics economics associations. Professor David Wheat, our previous chapter president, volunteered to update our web site. We appreciate his cordial offer.

3. Creation of a chapter archive for open economic models

As to our Web contents, many agreed to share our system dynamics economic models for learning from each other and letting the non-system dynamics economics profession know about how our system dynamics modeling works.
The models will be categorized into a generic model for education and case-related models for research and business applications. We decided not to break down our class of sharing models further into a mainstream economics tradition such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics because economic events are hard to break into fragmented sections, and the objective of system dynamics economic modeling is to provide an integrated view of the interrelated and interdependent world. Please submit your models to Prof. David Wheat.

4. Other chapter activities to follow

One of the participants strongly proposed that the chapter should develop a scope of its visions as our common activity basis. Since system dynamics is a problem-solving method, it may not be a bad idea to have our common challenging issues such as economic and financial crisis and climate change in mind. Even so, how we can pursue it as a chapter remains unsolved. Kaoru Yamaguchi suggested that the chapter be renamed the Green Economy Chapter to distinguish us from mainstream economics, or at least that it should have an intimate collaboration with other chapter members such as environmental and business SIG, who are also concerned with green futures. The system dynamics approach enables such collaboration at professional levels. The main theme of tnext year’s conference in Korea will be “Beyond Crisis: Greening Economy, Society and Futures.” We hope to carry on this discussion in the future.

See you in Korea in 2010.

Kaoru Yamaguchi


Environmental Special Interest Group

The environmental special interest group welcomed everyone to join us in an important discussion about the challenges surrounding the use of system dynamics for natural resource modeling. Issues for discussion included the fact that natural resource modelers often need to use data to create model behavior and; moreover, our clientele often expect to see their data and how it fits into a model. What are the challenges of managing the data driven nature of the environmental while still designing system dynamics models. The discussion was lively, and many attendees did not see a problem with models that were driven by large amounts of data. It was noted that there were many system dynamics models networked though interfaces with legacy models. Many interfaces that connect to multiple models do allow for the models to feed one another information at every step that allows for the integration of feedback.

A second important topic of discussion was how to communicate more effectively between meetings. The group decided to move the Environmental SIG discussions from our old listserve to a LinkedIn group. Invitations have been sent out from the member list; however, anyone who has not been contacted and wishes to join our discussions, please contact Allyson Beall at abeall@wsu.edu. She will add your name to our LinkedIn group.

We also secured officers for the next SIG meetings. Ali Saysel will act as president for the 2010 conference, and then will hand activities over to Mats Svensson for 2011. Allyson Beall will continue to coordinate the Carbon Neutral program.

Our bonus day activity directed discussion around projects and challenges faced by individual attendees.

The Environmental SIG has helped develop the System Dynamics Society partnership with Carbonfund.org as a means of offsetting the carbon emissions associated with the conference. Carbonfund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, helped us estimate our conference emissions at 900.9 metric tons and created a website for us as a manner to pay for offsets (http://www.carbonfund.org/site/pages/land/sds_conference). Carbonfund.org supports three types of carbon offset projects: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation. We managed to offset approximately eleven percent of our carbon footprint, includes the initial contribution from the Society and the participation of thirty conference attendees. Although some have voiced disappointment that participation was low, Carbonfund.org has noted that, for a first-time voluntary program, we did quite well. This program will continue, and we look forward to increasing participation for our Seoul Conference in 2010.

Allyson Beall


German Chapter

Looking forward to celebrating its 3rd birthday in December, the German Chapter is about to hit the magic number of 100 members. Within the last 12 months, the Chapter has hosted several events. Four regional meetings in Frankfurt and Munich gave interested parties an occasion for meeting system dynamicists in an informal setting. At each meeting, a brief presentation offered insights into our members’ dynamic modeling projects. With the conference “Traffic and Logistics” and the 3rd German System Dynamics Workshop two more extensive opportunities for exchanging ideas, meeting colleagues and networking were organized.

The conference “Traffic and Logistics” was jointly hosted by the German Chapter and the German OR Society on 13–14 Nov 2008 at Frankfurt International Airport. About 40 participants from universities, research institutes, consulting firms, and the industry discussed applications of OR methods and system dynamics in projects related to transportation and logistics. As keynote speaker, David C. Lane of the London School of Economics and Political Sciences initiated a lively exchange about the intersection of system dynamics and OR approaches and ways to combine both in practical applications. The presentations are available via the Chapter’s website www.systemdynamics.de.

This year’s German System Dynamics Workshop took place on 25–26 June 2009 in Stuttgart. In the established format of 1½ day conference, the event combined a set of talks, a modeling session, and enough time for discussion and meeting other system dynamicists. During the event, the 2nd Gert-von-Kortzfleisch-Award was presented to Florian Kapmeier for his system dynamics based analysis of inter-organizational learning alliances. The annual administrative meeting of the German Chapter was held in the afternoon of the second day of the workshop.

The Chapter has currently 97 members, about equally split between academics and business practitioners. About 250 interested people receive the Chapter’s newsletter. Further information on the Chapter’s activities and events can be found at: http://www.systemdynamics.de , or contact Switbert Miczka at miczka@systemdynamics.de .

Switbert Miczka


Italian Chapter (Report 1)

The Italian Chapter started its solar year with renewing its executive officers. After a very long period in which the principal officers were annually re-confirmed, during the 2008 Athens System Dynamics annual conference, the SYDIC Executive Committee uniformly decided to re-new the officers through a formal election. The president, Habib Sedehi, announced his resignation and reaffirmed his intention not to run for the position of president.

The election period of presenting candidates and their electoral programs was fixed from the end of October 2008 to the end of January 2009. The vote operations were transparently organized through the SYDIC website, and the members officially registered were invited to express their votes on-line. The results of the chapter officers election were published 03/02/2009 on the SYDIC web site  with the following results:

President: Edoardo Mollona
Vice President Chapter Representative: Habib Sedehi
Vice-President Secretary: Stefano Armenia
Vice-President Treasure: Nicola Bianchi

During the year, the Italian Chapter has enjoyed strong interest from academics and professionals in Italy who, for the first time, registered their reference through the web site http://www.systemdynamics.it/ (about 200 new registrations). All these registrations are potentially candidates to become SYDIC members. Presently, the formal number of members is near fifty.

The main activities of the SYDIC active members have been presented at the Albuquerque conference during the relative Poster Session.

The Universities in Italy where System Dynamics Methodology is taught and researched are:

  • Rome University “La Sapienza”
  • Rome University “Tor Vergata”
  • Bologna University
  • Siena University
  • Pisa University
  • Milan University “Cattolica del Sacro Cuore”
  • Palermo University 

An important event planned for 2010 in which SYDIC will play an mportant role is EURAM, the annual conference of the European Academy of Management, which will be held at the second University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (www.euram2010.org) during May 2010, and which will host two tracks dealing with system dynamics and dynamic modeling.

In conclusion, the Italian Chapter continues to play a fundamental role in the Italian system dynamics community through members’ involvement in spreading system dynamics methodology through the academic and scientific domain, management consultancy, and in different industry sectors.

Habib Sedehi


Italian Chapter (Report 2)

Synopsis: The Monday afternoon Italian Chapter Annual Meeting provided a highly interactive event to help establish close relationships among the Italian members of the Society. The meeting took place in the Franciscan Ballroom, and the participants were Vincenzo Di Giulio and Stefania Migliavacca from Eni Corporate University, Enrico Milani from MAS Consulting, and Roberto Poles (the reporter) from Melbourne and RMIT Universities. The session chair was Stefano Armenia from CATTID, University of Rome “Sapienza.”

The meeting provided the opportunity to recognize the strong involvement of the Italian chapter in Society activities and to discuss the 2009 achievements of chapter members in the field of system dynamics, specifically the successful web site (http://www.systemdynamics.it/) developed and managed by Stefano Armenia, counting today more than 250 members. Also discussed were the System Dynamics Seminars arranged in Italy, created to improve relationships among members and to disseminate the knowledge of system dynamics in the country, particularly inside the university environment. Moreover, the extraordinary efforts of Vincenzo Di Giulio and Stefania Migliavacca, who manage a system dynamics master’s course (http://www.eni.it/it_IT/lavora-con-noi/scuola-mattei-master-medea/scuola-mattei-master-medea.shtml) for one of the largest Italian companies, ENI SpA, which strongly employs system dynamics applications for all aspects of business, were discussed. Enrico Milani, who uses the system dynamics approach for consultancy services in supply chain, finance strategy, and business strategy for several Italian companies, including ENI Group (http://www.mas-co.it/view.php?page=welcome.php), presented his consulting company, MAS Consulting. MAS Consulting gains leverage with Powersim Software AS products for model design and integration capability.

(Full report)

Roberto Poles


Latin America Chapter

The Latin America Chapter meeting that took place at the 27th International Conference in Albuquerque was a fascinating experience where we had the opportunity of interacting and being actively involved with different colleagues from the Society.  

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Gloria Pérez Salazar and Martin Schaffernicht

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Colleagues at the Latin America Chapter Poster Session

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Latin America Chapter Meeting

The Chapter meeting had the presence of 22 colleagues from different countries (Mexico, Colombia, Argentine, Spain, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile and Puerto Rico). The participants discussed really important topics like the selection of future countries locations for the coming conferences, and information about our next Latina America conference that will take place in Santa Colombia in November 2009.

Gloria Pérez Salazar


Pakistan Chapter

The year 2008 was a happening year for the chapter, where not only the usual activities of the chapter were continued, but a foundation was laid for further enhancement of chapter activities. The highlights are shared below:

  1. Workshops / Seminars;
  2. SD course development
  3. e-newsletter;
  4. Book writing and publishing
  5. Research participation and publication
  6. Certificate Distribution Ceremony

1. Workshop / Seminars:

The workshop on Beer Game was conducted by Mr. Ijaz Yusuf at the platform of University of Management and Technology for management students and played at the platform of Quality Circle Institute along with Miss Rabia Sajjad and Muhammad Amman-Uallah Ch.
The response was quite encouraging and most of the students have registered their names for an introductory course on system dynamics.

2. Introducing System Dynamics as an Elective Subject for MBA Students:

An introductory course of system dynamics has been started at School of Business and Economics in University of Management and Technology in the fall, 2008. First class comprised twenty two students and over all feedback was very positive.

3. e-newsletter:

Pakistan Chapter has been regularly publishing its e-newsletter on quarterly basis. We are planning to make it bimonthly as well as website of the Chapter is under construction as well. It will further support chapter activities and will keep the members connected.

4. Book Writing and Publishing:

Pakistan Chapter has planned to edit books on system dynamics especially focusing the research done in Pakistan context. The Chapter is also in the process of editing some basic material on SD and translating it into Urdu. Ijaz Yusuf and Seema Arif will be the editors and help is expected from international community to volunteer for both the writing and editing of the books.

5. Research Participation and Publication:

Chapter members have contributed to both local and international research.

1. “Dynamics of Quality Auditing for System Improvement: The case of Pakistani Industries,” presented by Mr. Ijaz Yusuf and published in proceedings of 2nd Annual Quality Congress held in Dubai, April 2008

*The paper also received Best Paper Award in the congress.

2. “System Dynamics: An Effective Tool for Organizational Analysis and Prediction,” by Seema Arif. Co-authored and presented by Ijaz Yusuf in the First National Conference on Organizational Analysis and Qualitative Research: Contemporary Practices & Challenges hosted by University of Peshawar in June 2008.

6. Certificate Distribution Ceremony

..
..

During the visit of Patron in Chief to Pakistan Chapter, Prof. Dr. Khalid Saeed, a certificate distribution Ceremony was held at Eden Tower in Gulberg, Lahore. Many ideas were discussed for further development and enhancement of the chapter during this annual meeting.

Glimpses of the event are attached here for sharing with everyone.  

Ijaz Yusuf


Psychology Special Interest Group

The Psychology SIG is a venue for discourse and learning about ways of integrating psychological processes into system dynamics models and to apply system dynamics methodology to the formation of psychological theories. At the Albuquerque meeting of the SIG, a roundtable discussion about Barry Richmond’s system dynamics model of the Zimbardo 'Standford Prison Experiment' was facilitated by Drs. Levine and Lounsbury.

During the business-related portion of the meeting, an appeal to new members from various disciplines and backgrounds in the social and behavioral sciences was made. Approximately 40 members currently affiliate with the Psychology SIG. Dr. Levine called for nominations of candidates for the position of SIG Co-Chair. However, no names were presented. Drs. Levine and Lounsbury agreed to continue to serve in this capacity through the 2010 fiscal year.

.A discussion about future aims of the SIG identified a general interest in writing a series of white papers on system dynamics and psychology research and on identifying funding for collaborative modeling projects in the social and behavioral sciences, including development of new molecules or mini-models of psychological processes to promote deeper understanding of existing psychosocial and behavioral theories and to generate new theories of psychosocial and behavioral dynamics.

Ralph Levine and David Lounsbury


Security Special Interest Group

The 2009 Security SIG meeting at Albuquerque this year was the perfect opportunity to bring out what limitations system dynamics (SD) security researchers were facing as well as to explore new avenues of collaboration.

Our 15 attendees placed strong emphasis on taking the time to analyze the restrictions that limit what can be shared with academic researchers in the security arena. The meeting helped us to determine that the following activities could improve the future of security research:

  • Set up discussions of methods for elicitation, abstraction, and application of archetypes
  • Collection of references to important work, such as that done by Jeff Coyle in the military space
  • Identification of relevant standards from industry-specific sources, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • links to systems research appearing in other venues

The core group (Eliot Rich, Finn Olav Sveen and Jose M. Torres) is currently extending the SD Security Wiki space so it can provide links to case studies, open models, discussions of methods and relevant publications. Professor Rich agreed to distribute the address of the Wiki to the attendees and create an initial structure based on the interests presented at the meeting.

The Security Interest Group has set the following goals for next year:

  • Making the Wiki an active space. This requires new commitment from interested members that volunteers to identify topics and add materials (such as classic articles in the Security/Military space).
  • Develop a bi-annual newsletter that will include ongoing activities, ways to collaborate with the SIG and the announcements for the 2010 SD conference.
  • Develop a cooperative paper summarizing the state of SD research in the area.

If anyone wants to add new ideas or activities or take the lead in one or more activities proposed please feel free to email jmtorres@tecnun.es. We really want to increase the dynamism of the SIG and your participation will be vital. We will be sending the first 2009-2010 newsletter shortly; therefore, if you could not make it to the ISDC SIG meeting, email us so you can engage!

Looking forward to networking with you all.

Jose M Torres jmtorres@tecnun.es
Eliot Rich e.rich@albany.edu
Finn Olav Sveen finn.olav.sveen@gmail.com


United Kingdon Chapter

The United Kingdom (UK) Chapter’s Annual Gathering will be held at London South Bank University on 11 and 12 February 2010. Please note the dates in your diary and look out for further news! The theme this time is “Environmental Challenges.” On the second day, we plan to run the Copenhagen Climate Exercise as well as repeat last year’s successful PhD Colloquium.

Applications for Awards
Applications can now be submitted for the two awards presented by the UK Chapter as follows:

The Steer Davies Gleave System Dynamics Prize
The prize is for the best piece of work that applies system dynamics to a problem of wide public interest in the UK. The work should demonstrably improve understanding of the problem by, for example, clarifying the definition of what is at issue and allowing candidate solutions to be formulated and tested.

The Student Prize
The UK Chapter of the System Dynamics Society awards an annual prize for the best piece of student work in system dynamics during a given year. This includes a dissertation for an undergraduate or postgraduate (Master's) degree or a published paper from a PhD (but not a full PhD thesis). It is hoped that this will help to foster the continued growth of system dynamics in the UK, especially among younger people, to give public recognition to good work, and to give the winner the chance to meet other workers in the field.

Additional information including contact details for applications, together with closing dates, are on the Chapter web site at this address.

Brian Dangerfield

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