2015 Conference Proceedings Available

The online version of the full proceedings of the 2015 Cambridge Conference, including the final version of papers supplied by authors, is now available (open source) at

The list of papers, workshops, and events is organized alphabetically by author with links to each paper. There are additional links to abstracts, supporting materials, and web sources when provided. You will also find information on ordering a bound, printed set.

Other links available on this web page include:
  • Conference Booklet: the printed handout in a single Adobe Acrobat file
  • Sessions by Thread: a list of papers organized by subject area with links to each abstract, paper, and supporting material
  • PhD Colloquium: a link to the web site maintained by the Student Chapter
  • Related Links for Awards, Sponsors, Sponsor Notes, and Photos
  • Partners and Sponsors
  • Past Conferences

Please keep in mind the following important guidelines for our Conference Proceedings:

Conference papers and presentations are a networking tool for members of the Society and those who attend the conference. The Conference provides a venue for presenting work and receiving comments that can strengthen the work and help to prepare it for wider distribution.

The Society will produce and maintain Web Proceedings of abstracts and papers to provide a complete record of presentations at the Conference. The Web Proceedings are not intended to be a substitute for publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

The strength of the field requires publishing good work, to reach audiences beyond those attending our conferences. Consult with highly experienced professional System Dynamics colleagues for suggestions on making your work ready for publication and for suggestions of where to publish.

Abbreviating your paper for the Web proceedings is a good idea if you intend to publish it after the conference, as many journals will refuse to publish the same paper that has appeared elsewhere, including conference proceedings.

Comments by Jay W. Forrester at the 2015 System Dynamics Conference

Conference attendees were delighted and honored to have Professor Jay W. Forrester, founder of the field of System Dynamics, as a special guest speaker at the conference. Jay gave a brief talk during the banquet at the 33rd International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. Speaking on July 21 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he reflected on the first small gathering of people interested in System Dynamics, many years ago. He made observations about the current situation of System Dynamics, and he commented on its future, directions, and the mountains System Dynamicists can scale going forward. The banquet attendees thanked him by giving an enthusiastic standing ovation for several minutes. Anyone interested in Professor Forrester’s latest statements about the field he founded almost 60 years ago will find this recorded speech worth watching. (Click here for the transcript.)

Awards Given at the Conference

The Jay Wright Forrester Award recognizes the authors of the best contribution to the field of System Dynamics in the preceding five years. This year the award was presented to Hazhir Rahmandad, for his winning work, Impact of Growth Opportunities and Competition on Firm-Level Capability Development Tradeoffs. Organization Science 23(1):138-154. http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/orsc.1100.0628. Please watch Professor Rahmandad'd presentation here.

Hazhir Rahmandad and Khalid Saeed

The System Dynamics Applications Award is presented by the Society every other year for the best "real world" application of System Dynamics. The Society awarded its 2015 Applications Award for the work, Biomedical System Dynamics to Improve Anemia Control With Darbepoetin Alfa in Long-Term Hemodialysis Patients, by James T. McCarthy, MD; Craig L. Hocum, PA-C; Robert C. Albright, DO; James Rogers, MS, MBA; Edward J. Gallaher, PhD; David P. Steensma, MD; Stephen F. Gudgell, MA; Eric J. Bergstralh, MS; John C. Dillion, MD; LaTonya J. Hickson, MD; Amy W. Williams, MD; and David Dingli, MD, PhD. Please watch Professor Bradley Morrison's Speech for presenting the award here.

Bradley Morrison, Edward J. Gallaher, James T. McCarthy, and Craig L. Hocum

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 presented this award to Dean Christensen in grateful recognition of his exceptional volunteer contributions to the System Dynamics Society. Please follow this link to watch the Outstanding Service Award video.

Bob Eberlein, Peter Milling, Roberta Spencer, Dean Christensen, David Andersen, and Andy Ford
Conference Paper Awards

The Dana Meadows Award of the System Dynamics Society is given annually for the best paper by a student presented at the annual System Dynamics Conference. Established in 2001, the prize celebrates and recognizes high quality student work in the field of System Dynamics. The 2015 award was accepted by Mohammad S. Jalali from Virginia Tech for the paper Information Diffusion through Social Networks: the Case of an Online Petition, co-authored by Armin Ashouri Rad, Oscar Herrera-Restrepo, and Hui Zhang, all from Virginia Tech. The two 2015 Honorable Mention recipients were Chris Browne from the Australian National University for his paper (co-authored by Paul Compston) Rethinking intuition of accumulation principles and also Arash Baghaei Lakeh from the Virginia Tech for his paper, Does Analytical Thinking Improve Understanding of Accumulation? (co-authored by Navid Ghaffarzadegan).

Thomas Fiddaman and Mohammad Jalali
Chris Browne and Thomas Fiddaman

The Lupina Young Researchers Award is given annually by the Health Policy SIG for outstanding papers dealing with health-related topics authored by students. The 2015 recipient were Philipp Schwarz and Sebastiaan Fakkert from Delft University of Technology for their paper (co-authored by Erik Pruyt), Kidney transplantations in the United States: A System Dynamics approach to reduce the waiting list and illegal trafficking.

Sebastiaan Fakkert, Philipp Schwarz, and David Lounsbury

The Barry Richmond Scholarship Award is presented annually by isee systems 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 recipients were Therese Bennich, Tom Bongers, and David Collste for their paper, Exploring Degrowth Pathways Using System Dynamics. Please watch Barry Richmonds Awards video here.

Karim Chichakly, Tom Bongers, Bob Eberlein, and Therese Bennich

Best Poster Award Winners - Congratulations to all!

The Best Poster Award for the Economics, Security and Operations Poster Session was presented for The Paradox of Redistribution: A System Dynamics Translation, by David Collste. The session co-chairs stated it was difficult to pick a winner because many posters we interesting and qualified. "We particularly liked this one for a number of reasons: important topic of income and welfare inequality in society and clarity of the presentation."

The Best Poster Award for the Business & Strategy Poster Session was presented for The impact of Australia's carbon tax on an unshielded emissions intensive trade exposed manufacturing industry by Sue McAvoy. The Session Co-chairs commented: "This poster deals with an important topic at the intersection of public and business policy; the model is complex but helps reach interesting conclusions. An important problem; interesting insights."

John and Sue McAvoy with the Winning Poster

The Best Poster Award for the Methodology and Learning Session was presented for The Capability Traps in Explaining the Capability Trap: Lessons from the Field on Conveying Generalizable System Insights, by Peter Hovmand, Laura Guzman-Abello, Camilo Olaya, Wolfgang Munar, Mary Jo Stahlschmidt. The session co-chairs commented about this poster "The authors did a great job grounding their work in achievable goals, were able to find practically important problems with untrained clients, and developed a method for replicating these quantitative insights in other settings. Results provide better changes of communicating systems insights."

Peter Hovmand with the Winning Poster

There was a tie for the Best Poster Award during the Health and Human Behavior Poster Session. The winners were Sarah Peterson for Understanding the dynamics of Ebola transmission using a simple dynamic model. The session chairs stated "This poster addresses an urgent public health problem using an innovative combination of System Dynamics modeling and network dynamics using online data sources building on a classic epidemiology framework."

The other winner poster was Local Area Physician Workforce Planning Model Pilot, by Michael Dill, Gary Hirsch, and Emily Yunker. The session chairs stated "This poster presents a pilot project designed to engage local stakeholders in a health care work force capacity-building effort, with important implications for participatory modeling methods and planning for national-scale implementation."

Sarah Peterson with the Winning Poster
Emily Yunker, Michael Dill, and Gary Hirsch with the Winning Poster
The Best Poster Award for the Environment and Public Policy Poster Session was presented for Product Policy Impact in the Lifecycle of Light Bulbs Through System Dynamics, by Luz-Angelica Rodriguez, Enrique Estupinan, Sonia Jaimes, and Diego Toro. The session co-chairs commented "This poster addresses an important environmental problem in an engaging and informative way."
Luz-Angelica and Enrique with the Winning Poster

There was a tie for Best Poster Award for the Resource Management poster session. Resilience in Zambia's Maize Value Chain. An explorative case study on using System Dynamics for resilience testing, by Conrad Steinhilber was one of the winners. The other poster was Rooftop Solar and the Utilities Death Spiral - a System Dynamics Analysis, by Conor Meehan.

Conrad Stienhilber with the Winning Poster
Conor Meehan with the Winning Poster

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"State of the Global Economy" Fireside Chat was Big Success at Conference

The "State of the Economy" Fireside Chat, held during the 2015 System Dynamics Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was well-enjoyed by conference attendees. The plenary session was moderated by Mike Radzicki of WPI, and featured prominent economists Barry Armstrong, David Colander, and John Harvey, who discussed the current state of the U.S. and world economies as well as the future of alternative approaches to economic analysis. Barry Armstrong is the president and founder of the Armstrong Advisory Group, a Boston-area wealth management firm. David Colander is the Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics at Middlebury College since 1982. John Harvey is Professor of Economics at Texas Christian University and contributor to Forbes Magazine. Watch and enjoy the video HERE.

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Healthcare Adventures© at the Center for Medical Simulation

Healthcare Adventures© at the Center for Medical Simulation, facilitated by Dr. Brad Morrison and Dr. Fred Davis, was offered at the 2015 International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. This simulation was a customized experience that thrust the participants into the dynamic environment of health care on the front lines. Participants stepped into the healthcare arena and took on challenges of patient care and crisis management with a simulated patient. The event was held at the Center for Medical Simulation, a highly realistic clinical environment with an operating room and other patient care settings used for education of physicians and other healthcare professionals. In this session, non-clinicians actually got the chance to care for a patient and experience real-life issues first hand.

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Summer School held

The pre-conference System Dynamics Summer School started on Wednesday, July 15. It was held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Again this year, the summer school was taught by leaders in the field and allowed for individual and group instruction.

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Thank You!

Many thanks to all who contributed their writing, photographs, and information to this issue of the newsletter. Thanks to all conference volunteers: Weijia Ran, Babak Bahaddin, Mahdi Najafabadi, Katrina Hull, Carson Tao, Dalia Abd-Allah, Jose Guevara, Aminah Zawedde, Fady Saad, Jim Hacunda, Saeed Langarudi, Sebastiaan Fakkert, Phillip Schwarz, Michael Bastiani, Ignacio Paricio, Adiba Muminova, Mahdi Zarghami, Rob van Waas, Mohammad Jalali, Alex Ivanov, Durga Pudasaini, and Kay Kim.

Conference photos are provided by: Dean L. Christensen, Mahdi Najafabadi, and many others.

A sincere THANK YOU to all conference sponsors!

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Phone: +1 518 442 3865; Fax: +1 518 442 3398; Email: office@systemdynamics.org

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