Brazil Chapter

This year, the Brazil Chapter held the 3rd Brazilian System Dynamics Symposium at the FEI University in São Paulo. Speakers included Andrew Ford from Washington State University; Karim Chichakly from isee systems; Markus Schwaninger from University of St. Gallen, Switzerland; and Isaac Dyner from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, Colombia. The objectives of the symposium were to:

  1. Encourage professional, scientific and training activities;
  2. Highlight relevant applications;
  3. Promote technical capacity;
  4. Facilitate the exchange of knowledge; and
  5. Strengthen and expand our social network.

In the one-day workshop, participants will had the opportunity to meet others who share an interest in topics ranging from water resource management to national park planning; the goal was to share ideas among participants who wished to transition from academia to applied System Dynamics.

Submitted by Paulo Nakamura, Brazil Chapter Representative. Back to Top


China Chapter

The second System Dynamics Academic Forum for postgraduates in China was successfully hosted by Shanghai University of Interactional Business and Economics on November 14-15, 2014, which offered an extensive and in-depth discussion of the academics and application of System Dynamics. Both this forum and last year’s demonstrate the vitality of System Dynamics development in China, especially for newcomers.


China Systems Engineering Society initiated a project "2014-2015 report on advances in System Science and Systems Engineering." As an important branch, the System Dynamics Professional Committee has been involved in the project and finished writing the report on System Dynamics development. Two review meetings were organized in August and September, 2015, in Guangzhou and Beijing, China.

November 16, 2014, the annual meeting of the Systems Engineering Society of China was held in He Fei, China. System Dynamics Committee, which is affiliated to SESC held a forum on System Dynamics application and innovation during the meeting, which involved around 40 SDers.
A research proposal using System Dynamics to investigate the future 30-year development, "Shanghai 2050," has been funded by the Shanghai Government. It is a one year project to study different scenarios of Shanghai's social, economic, and environmental development.

The System Dynamics chapter hosted a delegation from Taiwan in April, 2015. A meeting on the exchange of training and development of System Dynamics both in mainland China and Taiwan was conducted at Tongji University.

Around 10 members of the China Chapter attended the 33nd International Conference of the System Dynamics Society where Professor Jianxun Chu chaired the China Chapter meeting.

China Chapter of System Dynamics held our regular meeting on May 31.
The general election of the System Dynamics Professional Committee will be conducted in late 2015. The election started in late 2014 and includes four stages. The first stage is to formulate the election method by consulting members of the committee. The second stage is the formation of the election committee. The third stage is to collect application form from potential members. The eventual election process will be held during the System Dynamics national conference on November 15, 2015, in Beijing with an estimated 100 attendees. We will then elect the members of the new Council of the System Dynamics Professional Committee. Vensim training courses have also been organized regularly as usual this year.

Submitted by: Haiyan Yan, China Chapter Representative. Back to Top


>> Iran Chapter

On October 8th, the Policy Council voted to approve a new Chapter. The Iran Chapter is now one of 19 Society Chapters that help further the dissemination and encourage the advancement of System Dynamics. There are 16 founding members of the newly formed Chapter. Many of them attended the Cambridge conference and are pictured below.

The new Chapter is in the process of electing officials and establishing a website. They are also looking for new Chapter members. Contact information will be provided after the officer elections are held for those who are interested in joining the Iran Chapter.

If you have not yet renewed your membership and would like to become a member of the Iran Chapter, please note it on your membership form.

As more information becomes available, it can be found on the Chapters of the System Dynamics Society web page.

The Society is very pleased to welcome the Iran Chapter!

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>> South Africa Chapter

Over the course of 2015, the South African System Dynamics (SASD) Chapter has grown to 17 members. Just over a third are postgraduate students who are currently utilising System Dynamics modelling as part of their research efforts. Some of these research efforts were featured at the annual conference of the System Dynamics Society in Massachusetts. Indeed, ten South Africans attended and participated in the annual conference, with four posters and two oral presentations, and a couple members chaired sessions. A roundtable discussion was also held to discuss the progress of the Chapter with regards to its three main objectives:

  1. Identify, develop, extend, and disseminate knowledge contributing to the understanding of feedback systems in South Africa and the rest of Africa;
  2. Promote the interchange of learning, research, and scholarship in all related fields in South Africa and the rest of Africa; and
  3. Encourage and develop educational System Dynamics programmes in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

South Africa System Dynamics (SASD) Chapter Roundtable meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts


Courses

A key issue for the Chapter is that of capacity building. To this end, through the University of Witwatersrand medical school, around 750 undergraduate students were introduced to the concepts of System Dynamics during 2015. At Stellenbosch University, 25 students were enrolled for a dedicated postgraduate module in System Dynamics modelling, and six Master's students have based their theses on the modelling approach. At Rhodes University, a PhD based on System Dynamics was successfully completed and a postdoctoral fellowship has been undertaken. In the corporate environment, the Eskom Academy of Learning offers a two-day course, typically twice a year, taking at least 40 students annually through an applied introduction to Systems Dynamics. More information on these courses can be found here: http://www.systemdynamics.org.za/events

Conferences

A number of events are underway to facilitate knowledge exchange within the Chapter, but also to promote System Dynamics in other research communities. The 3rd Annual Eskom Conference, and the 1st Annual Conference of the Chapter will be integrated, and is scheduled for November 16, 2015, at the Research facility of Eskom in Johannesburg. A dedicated track on System Dynamics is also planned as part of the 15th International Winelands Conference – Governance of transitions in a complex world – and has been scheduled from March 30 to April 1, 2016, in Stellenbosch. More details on the events can be found here: http://systemdynamics.org.za/events

Further dissemination

The Chapter is preparing a review paper – on the research and application of System Dynamics modelling in the region. A working paper will be released shortly. The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has provided funding to support the compiling of a textbook entitled: System Dynamics Models for Africa’s Developmental Planning. The book is scheduled for publication in 2016. The Proceedings of the 2nd Annual System Dynamics Conference (held on November 14, 2014) has been published (ISBN 978-0-620-64282-8). Various workshops will be carried out to market System Dynamics in South Africa and will include the World Climate Exercise as well as the Beer Game.

Policy Council

A policy council meeting was held on September 9, 2015, in Johannesburg. A major point on the agenda is the preparation for the 1st Annual General Meeting, which will be held on November 15, 2015, prior to the annual conference the following day. The first, formal policy council of the Chapter will be democratically elected at the AGM.

Submitted by Josephine Musango, South Africa Chapter Representative. Back to Top


>> UK Chapter

The UK Chapter continues to provide a means for raising awareness of System Dynamics, showcasing good practice, and keeping members of the System Dynamics community in touch. For further details of anything highlighted in this news report, please go to our website at http://systemdynamics.org.uk/ Please join our emailing list.

The main event of the year is the Annual Conference, held this year on 26 and 27 March, at the London School of Economics. The programme theme was Public Policy for Innovation, and Finance. We had presentations from David Lane (child protection), Rhian van Gullik-Boon and Willem Stapel (Netherlands Justice Ministry), Ian Mitchell (science and innovation), Geoff Mulgan (formerly of the Prime Minister’s policy unit), Ben Ramalingam (international development), and Steve Keen (author of Debunking Economics, on heterodox economics).

The inaugural Geoff Coyle Award was presented to Martin Kunc (University of Warwick).

The conference also included a hands-on session exploring developments in software, covering disaggregation/entity-based System Dynamics modelling, developments in handling structural complexity, and web-based modelling, led by Robert Muetzelfeldt and Jasper Taylor (Simulistics – Systo and Simile), Lee Jones (Ventana – Ventity), and Kim Warren (Strategy Dynamics – Sysdea).



The conference also included student presentations / posters.

Between conferences, the Society runs networking events, mostly in London. On the hottest July day ever recorded in the UK, we stayed indoors for two stimulating presentations, Rachel Freeman (University of Bristol) Revisiting Jevons’ Paradox, and Nicole Zimmermann (University College London) Meaning-making in the process of participatory System Dynamics research.

Sadly, that day’s heat was not the harbinger of a good summer. In search of warmth, a large contingent from the UK attended, and contributed to, the Cambridge, MA, USA, conference. There will be further networking events in Scotland and, probably, Wales. Please look out for further announcements on our website of an event in London, most likely on 16 or 17 December, with Mike Radzicki (to be confirmed as we go to press). From the hottest to the highest, next year’s annual conference will be held on 14 and 15 April. With the support of Martin Kunc and Warwick Business School, we will be holding the event at Western Europe’s tallest building, the Shard, London.

We hope to have more superlatives to report next time.

Submitted by: Douglas McKelvie, UK Chapter Representative. Back to Top


>> Energy Special Interest Group

The Energy SIG had its annual meeting at the ISDC in Cambridge, MA, USA. The attendance was not exceptional, with about 20 persons attending this session. A presentation of the statistics of the development of the Energy SIG along with the achievements of the last year and our plans for the upcoming year along with issues we are facing was discussed. This includes working on a new web page in a more modern design and trying to stimulate discussions within our LinkedIn group. However, the LinkedIn members are not very active. Additionally, we assembled a journal collection listing a variety of journals where energy-related System Dynamics papers have been published. This might be a great starting point for our members to decide where to publish their research. In order to update the list and to support this service, we kindly ask our members to send us references if they have published papers in journals that are not yet listed. This list will be available on our web page. During the discussion at the annual meeting, we have received precious feedback from the attendees. Thank you for this! They supported the idea of the journal listing and the web page. There was some initial discussion about stimulating activity in the LinkedIn group. We will review our strategy and we will work on activities that will include more members via the SD-forum, the web page and the LinkedIn group. At the end of the annual meeting, we confirmed our willingness to continue as SIG co-representatives for the upcoming year. Additionally, we got the assistance of a new member to support us with this task: Please welcome Merla Kubli, a PhD student at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the Energy SIG, please contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Please send an e-mail to energy@sigs.systemdynamics.org indicating your name, organization/company, address, country and e-mail address as well as any comments or specific information request.

Submitted by: George Matthew, Energy SIG Co-representative. Back to Top


>> Psychology Special Interest Group

The Psychology SIG held its Roundtable and Annual Meeting during the System Dynamics Society Conference in Cambridge. At the meeting, Dr. Alan Gaynor, Associate Professor Emeritus, Boston University School of Education, led a discussion on his experience using ‘soft variables’ in modeling.

We held a three-hour workshop during the conference, entitled: "Modeling Psychological and Sociological Dynamics." The slides for the workshop (as a paper), many example models in Vensim, Stella and PowerSim, and an extensive annotated bibliography are posted in the conference proceedings. The annotated bibliography includes 148 references. We plan to give an updated version of this workshop at the System Dynamics Society Conference in Delft in 2016.

During the year, we provided support to people who had questions about using psychological variables in modeling. We also answered questions like "who else is working in this area" and "what external (to the Society) resource can help me in my thesis project."

We had a presence at the conference "Innovations in Collaborative Modeling" which was sponsored by Michigan State University and held in June 2015. The conference focused on the use of systems modeling techniques in managing the complex social and environmental problems related to food systems, natural systems, wildlife management, water, health, transportation, and education.

Submitted by Pascal Gambardella and David Lounsbury, Psychology SIG Representatives.
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The System Dynamics Newsletter is published by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Babak Bahaddin, Erin Sheehan, LouAnne Lundgren, Roberta L. Spencer, Robin Langer, and Weijia Ran