Abstract for: Development of Educational Tools using Structural Modelling

The project discussed in this paper was originally intended as a quick exercise to understand and demonstrate the importance of structural, logical modelling processes over more data driven processes. A simple model was constructed based on the popular science fiction epidemic, the Zombie virus. The model used a simple population dynamics structure to show numbers of uninfected humans, those carrying a zombie virus for an incubation period as well as the number of zombies. The model structure for this fictional scenario closely resembled that of a model constructed by Delft University of Technology investigating HIV/AIDS infection in Botswana showing that for an initial model formulation, a logical understanding of the problem is enough to begin a relatively good simulation. The model moved from being an exercise in system dynamics and systems thinking into an educational tool to assist decision makers in understanding epidemics and the complexities surrounding them. The intent of this paper is to highlight the use of known concepts to illustrate the value of structure and logic. The paper shows the remarkable correlation between the purely logic based zombie model and actual HIV/AIDS infection values for South Africa.