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System Dynamics
NEWSLETTER

Volume 23 – Number 4        October 2010


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Seoul Conference Report

Links to many photos from the Seoul Conference are posted on the Society's conference webpage; please take a look. Each year we have volunteer photographers wandering around the conference taking photos. If you have any photos you would like to share, please send them and we will add them to the website collection. (If there is a photograph of you on the web that you prefer that we remove it, please let us know at office@systemdynamics.org.)

Links to many full papers, including abstracts and supporting materials can also be accessed through the Society website. If you would like a copy of the printed proceedings, extra copies are for sale.

From the 2010 Conference Organizing Team, thanks!


Policy Council Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the Policy Council and the General Business Meeting can be found in their entirety by clicking on the "Governance" button on the System Dynamics Society website. Please visit the website to learn about the business discussed and to view the complete reports and information presented for the 2010 Summer Policy Council Meeting.

At its 2010 summer meeting, the Policy Council passed the following motions:

  • Approve the minutes of Winter 2010 Policy Council Meeting
  • Authorize the negotiating team to finalize the contract with our publisher of the System Dynamics Review
  • Accept the proposed Society budget for 2011
  • Authorize the purchase of Workers' Compensation and other related insurance and exempting current and future members of the Policy Council from coverage under Workers' Compensation
  • Appointment of George Richardson as Chair of the Society Program Oversight Committee

The Policy Council also holds electronic votes from time to time during the periods between face-to-face meetings.  A brief summary of recent electronic voting is below:

E-votes approved pre-Summer 2010 PC Meeting:

  • Accept the India Chapter
  • Revise minutes to correct spelling and appointment date for nominating committee appointment
  • Appoint Edward Anderson to Nominating Committee
  • Appoint George Richardson as VP Publication (partial term)

E-votes approved post-Summer 2010 PC Meeting:

  • Maintain VP At Large Position vacant
  • Appoint Martin Schaffernicht as VP Chapter Activities (partial term)

Session Reports

This list represents a cross-section of conference sessions, as reported by attendees who volunteered to share their impressions with you. If you were not able to be there in person, here you can gain some of the flavor and a sense of the varied activity that made up the Seoul conference. If you were there, perhaps you will recognize yourself in a photo or a description. More importantly, you will gain, to some extent, what is impossible to achieve while in actual attendance at the conference: the ability to go to more than one session at once. Some reports have longer detailed accounts of the sessions.

 

Session Reports in Chronological Order


SUN PhD Colloquium

MON 11:00 AM Parallel, Model Building–Structure and Data
MON 11:00 AM Parallel, Planning for Energy and Business Opportunities
MON 11:00 AM Parallel, Public Debt Issues
MON 11:00 AM Parallel, Qualitative System Dynamics and Public Policy
MON 2:00 PM Parallel, Fresh Water Management and Policies
MON 2:00 PM Parallel, Pedagogy
MON 2:00 PM Parallel, Understanding Model Behavior

TUE 9:00 AM Plenary, Learning From Low Fidelity and High Fidelity Models
TUE 11:00 AM Parallel, Agent-Based Modeling, Dynamics Control, and Systems Thinking
TUE 11:00 AM Parallel, Crime & Enforcement
TUE 11:00 AM Parallel, Growth and Development
TUE 2:00 PM Parallel, Health Service Delivery
TUE 2:00 PM Parallel, Process Improvement Dynamics

WED 8:30 AM Plenary, Model Formulation Process
WED 11:00 AM Parallel, Biology and Epidemiology
WED 11:00 AM Parallel, Modeling approaches
WED 11:00 AM Parallel, Urban Dynamics & Housing
WED 2:00 PM Parallel, Climate and Adaptation
WED 2:00 PM Parallel, Control Theory Applications to System Dynamics
WED 2:00 PM Parallel, Pedagogy Research
WED 3:00 PM Meeting, Peer Review Dialog
WED 4:00 PM Plenary, The Environment

THUR 8:30 AM Workshop, Creating an Online Multiplayer Simulation Game
THUR 8:30 AM Workshop, Getting Started with Vensim
THUR 10:30 AM Workshop, Optimizing with Vensim


Notes and Comments from Conference Participants

Short Comments

The trip was long, for sure, but it was a very interesting week! Martin Schaffernicht

The conference was quite well done, and the hotel/Olympic park location was great. I met a lot of first time participants, and their stories were quite interesting. Andy Ford

What one hopes for in professional meetings but rarely, if ever, encounters

The occasion of my brief Korean trip was System Dynamics Society Annual meeting. The Society meetings are what one hopes conventions and association meetings will provide-high quality papers, conversations with colleagues sharing common interests, an opportunity to make new friends and a remarkable sense of community.

The field was founded by one of the great intellects of modern times–Professor Jay W. Forrester, now emeritus at MIT's Sloan School of Management. Since the field is new–the first papers appeared in the 1950s–most of the field's leaders and founders are not only still living but attend the Annual Meetings regularly. (Tragic exceptions are MacArthur Genius grantee, Donella Meadows and creator of the first graphical user interface for system dynamics modeling (Stella), Barry Richmond). Most studied with Professor Forrester at MIT (as I did for a memorable year, but later in my professional career). In contrast to many fields, leaders and luminaries mingle freely and informally with newcomers and students. No other field, in my experience, is as friendly, welcoming and inclusive. The world's most widely read book based on a computer model The Limits to Growth (the first report to the Club of Rome) uses system dynamics theory/methodology. So do parts of other "global models."

The fact that all members share a common theoretical-methodological language (emphasizing dynamic behavior generated by feedback loops) also sets the field apart. Whether the topic of discussion is sustainability of the planet earth, urban development in Asia (my own present interest), efficiency in project management or improving product marketing in the pharmaceutical industry, all can understand the presentation and contribute. Discussions are lively, informed, respectful and collegial.

Even if you feel you have no interest in system dynamics modeling or have never even heard of it, you should check out the System Dynamics Society website and even consider attending an annual meeting (the next will be in July 2011 in Washington DC). The experience will remind you of what you may have hoped for in a professional association but had-sadly-come to accept that attaining that vision of professionalism, community and collegiality was probably not possible.

John Richardson (John's blog)


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