System Dynamics


Volume 16 – Number 1          Spring 2003




From the President

From the Executive Director

A SMILE for System Dynamics

2003 Society Officers and Policy Council

Policy Council Nominations for 2004

Call for Nominations:  Jay Wright Forrester Prize

Attention Academic Members!

News and Notes from Members

1976 Geilo, Norway Conference:  Were You There?

News from Our Sponsors

2003 New York City Conference

Contact Us



From the President

Pål I. Davidsen

Greetings to all System Dynamics Society members!

I would like to report to you on the many activities of the Society and the Winter Policy Council meeting, held in March at MIT.

Financing and sustainability of the Society and related services to members were major themes for many of the agenda items. All activities of the Society started out as volunteer-based. Now, labor has shifted to a professionally managed home office. The good news is that we are consistently growing, when many academic societies are stagnant or actually decreasing in membership.

The format and funding of our annual conference was a major focus at this Policy Council meeting. As well as discussing the details of Palermo, New York, and Oxford (to come in 2004), the Council members tackled larger issues: How can we improve our conference to meet our present needs? If the purpose of the conference is to grow the field, what do we mean by “growth”? Does “growth” mean increasing conference attendees or increasing the status and quality of system dynamics work being done–or both? How does this relate to the conference as an income source for the Society? What are the core requirements of the conference’s design? How do we craft principles and processes for conference site selection now that the local host role is decreased? How do we keep the registration fees affordable, especially enabling student attendance? The New York conference is being used as a vehicle for outreach to other disciplines–economics and psychology; is this an important goal as well?

The eventual outcome of this very important discussion was the formation of a committee to formulate an alternative approach for site selection of conferences, satisfying the goals, purposes and needs sketched during discussion at the Policy Council meeting. This committee is to present a proposal at the Summer Policy Council meeting and, if agreed upon, the proposal will be implemented as of 2005. George Richardson will chair the committee.

Another in-depth financial discussion centered on the unaudited financial report for 2002. David Andersen, by phone from Scotland, reported that a combination of long- and short-term factors resulted in an $86,000 loss overall. The Palermo conference, though a success by most other measures, hurt us financially. Moreover, sponsorship softened, and investments did not do well. Since 1998 the approved budgets have included an average loss of $20,000. Each year on average, the Society has realized a $5000 surplus. The Administrative Committee was charged to propose a balanced budget for 2004. The new budget will be presented to the Policy Council at its summer meeting during the New York conference.

David Peterson and Kevin O’Neill have begun a preliminary model of the work of the home office. The sustainability of the home office function is related to the conference issue and to the goals of the Society. David and Kevin plan to disseminate the model that is being developed, doing system dynamics on system dynamics.

One other financially related agenda item was tabled due to lack of time. The possibility of a capital campaign will be discussed at the Summer Policy Council meeting. A capital campaign could support new developments and improvements, as well as enhance and preserve the existing state of affairs. It would also help grow the field as well as cover costs of increased work being done at the home office. Currently there is no financial buffer, and the Society is dependent on beer game sales to subsidize office activities. Who to manage this endeavor is a puzzle to work out. The hope would be that a committee would make strategic decisions on what are long-run targets, set the goals and identify what means are required to meet the goals.

The growing use of the web and electronics and how they are related to the Society was another major theme that threaded through many agenda items. In addition to an up-to-date conference activities website, the Society, with major input from Vedat Diker, has moved to a conference review and submission system that is completely web-based. Those of you who have submitted your conference papers online or reviewed a conference paper online have seen Vedat’s work in action. Bob Eberlein is developing a proposal for a more systematic procedure for electronic voting by the Policy Council. Jim Hines undertook an initiative to reach out to university libraries to subscribe to the Review, as hardcopy or electronically. Scott Rockart is creating the first-ever electronic discussion board for Policy Council discussion between the Summer and Winter meetings. The System Dynamics Newsletter was sent out only in electronic format for the first time in December of 2002. The electronic relationship between the Society and John Wiley & Sons is a topic of continuous discussion to find the best way to maintain the current membership and subscription lists. In addition, the web publication of models associated with journal papers is a matter of ongoing dialogue and we are moving toward publishing models online.

A new Web Committee will be established to provide support for Webmaster Jack Pugh. Topics under consideration are a model repository with a link-up with the journal, discussion lists, and general web presence.

Brian Dangerfield reported that the System Dynamics Review is maintaining a healthy backlog. A special issue on modeling of environmental resources is in the works. Also, security and supply chain modeling have been suggested for upcoming special issues.

Ginny Wiley takes over from Nan Lux this year as VP Chapters, and compliments Nan on the incredible job she has done. The preliminaries are complete for a new chapter in Brazil, and the Policy Council voted to accept the chapter. We welcome the new chapter members and send congratulations to those who have worked on this project! For more information on chapters please visit the Society website and click on “Society Activities.”

Tasso Perdicoúlis presented an interesting progress report for the Environmental Dynamics Special Interest Group. The ED SIG is spending significant effort to develop a new structure and web presence. Please feel free to visit the website at <>.

A new System Dynamics Application Award will be established to recognize business application excellence in system dynamics. Alan Graham will chair a committee to move forward on this.

Members, your Society organization is hard at work for you! Important decisions regarding the future of the Society will be made in New York. You are encouraged to take part. All are welcome to attend the Summer Policy Council meeting. I hope to see you at the conference.


From the Executive Director:  Are our lists serving you?

Roberta L. Spencer

Dear Members:

Have you ever wanted to pick someone’s brain or needed a sounding board about a system dynamics problem or issue? If you subscribe to the system dynamics list(s) you can do that! People of all disciplines, budding system dynamicists and luminaries in the field, spanning the world, discuss the array of applications. Now and then the discussions are controversial, sometimes humorous, but always interesting and encouraging of communication. The list discussions can lead to helpful advice to incorporate into and improve your research, new sources for reading and citations, or links to interesting websites that show the work people are doing. Lately discussions have included topics such as “Can system dynamics models ‘learn?’” and “Work on the spread of SARS.” Many times announcements are made about upcoming events, news on awards and promotions and calls for papers.

System dynamicists are passionate about their work and love to share their points of view about this unique and potent way of thinking. The list allows you to network with like-minded students, researchers and practitioners, keeping up-to-date on the thinking on different topics. Our community is still small; the list is a personal, albeit far-flung, way to be involved with your professional community. If you have not, you are invited and encouraged to subscribe, to pose a question, or just to read and enjoy the conversations.

Maintenance of the lists is another fine example of our volunteers at work. Instructions to subscribe are below.

System Dynamics List serves

General issues in the field:

To join send the message “subscribe system-dynamics” to <[email protected]> or see <>

K-12 school issues:

To subscribe send an email to <[email protected]> with only

“subscribe k-12SD your full name” in the message body.

Spanish language communication:

Send the message “subscribe dinamica-sistemas” to <[email protected]>

Sustainability Interest Group (in conjunction with EDSIG):

To subscribe, visit <>.


A SMILE for System Dynamics

Jim Hines

SMILE.  Back around the beginning of the year, Carolus Grütters began wondering whether his favorite system dynamics software vendor would support the spiffy new operating system that came with his spiffy new computer. Would upgrading be effortless, or it require retyping every equation and every arrow of every models into some other vendor’s product? Carolus wished there was some sort of system dynamics “Esperanto,” a common language that all system dynamics simulation environments would read and write. Carolus posted to the system dynamics email list: Was anyone interested in developing a Simulation Model Interchange Language?

A number of people were interested. Magne Myrtveit, who serendipitously had proposed much the same idea at the 1995 System Dynamics Conference in Tokyo, was one of the first to reply. He said that he’d hoped the System Dynamics Society might take the lead in fostering the interchange language. Unfortunately, in 1995 “the Society did not want to sponsor [it]…, as they were afraid that it could influence the competition.” The proposal was well received, but no-one wanted to risk roiling the competitive waters.

Attitudes change.  Attitudes have changed since 1995. Oh, people still would prefer not to meddle in the market place. But the potential benefits have been looming increasingly large. I’ll mention just four here.

1.  Rocket fuel? Having experienced the value of exchanging text messages on the email list serve, people now want to exchange models. Folks suspect that something good would happen if we could share models as easily as we now share text. Exactly what would happencan’t be known in advance. At the least, an interchange language would encourage increased mixing, increased cross-fertilization. And at the most? Well, we know that the right mix of propellants can produce rocket fuel.

2.  Learning.  Ask any SDer how she learned to model so elegantly. She will likely say she learned by reading and playing with Jay Forrester’s Market Growth model. Or, maybe she’ll name the project model in the Richardson and Pugh book, or the corporate model in Jim Lyneis’ book, or…well, you get the idea:  Good modelers learned–and continue to learn–by playing with models created by others. An interchange language would mean that you could play with any available model, without having to worry whether the author’s favorite simulation environment was the same as your own. Online model repositories could be built and models downloaded by anyone using any system dynamics environment.

3.  Selling System Dynamics.  I’m told that some large corporations hesitate to invest in system dynamics because all of the vendors are small businesses. Apparently, a large company sees a small company as near to being a tiny company which is only a tiny step away from being no company. That is, big companies fear a little company will go out of business and leave it (i.e. the big company) with a big and useless system dynamics investment. An interchange language would reassure big companies that if disaster were to strike their vendor, they could continue to use their models within another vendor’s environment. Big companies would feel secure. And, secure big companies make big investments in system dynamics.

4.  Novel functionality, expanded R&D.  System dynamics software vendors get scads of unsolicited emails suggesting one harebrained idea after another for new (and, ok, maybe cool) functionality. Nothing comes of it. Don’t blame the vendors. They need to focus on bullet-proof, commercial-grade products. In contrast, the first implementation of a harebrained idea, no matter how cool, should be stuck together with bailing wire and chewing gum in the garage. The first implementation should be good enough to make the point, but cheap enough to throw away in favor of a new approach (or, more likely, the next idea). In brief, harebrained ideas ought not be implemented by commercial vendors, but rather by the harebrains who thought them up. This doesn’t happen either. The problem is that garage-quality coders only want to code the new, coolcapability. Unfortunately the new capability usually needs to play with other capabilities in order to do something useful. But the coder doesn’t want to code the “usual” capabilities. An interchange language removes the bottleneck. One product (commercial or garage) translates into the system dynamics Esperanto which is then read by the other product. An interchange language could unleash scores of would-be innovators. A flowering of system dynamics software may be on the horizon. Commercial vendors might well find that their R&D departments have suddenly expanded by an order of magnitude or more.

What to do and how.  There is now a sense that the benefits of a SMILE are worth the attempt, and it’s clear that the number of willing people form a critical mass. In fact, they form a very critical mass, not at all shy about criticizing (politely) one another or suggesting different ways of accomplishing the task. At this point a small jungle of different ideas has been offered for what SMILE should cover, what technologies should be employed, and what approaches should be taken.

How do we proceed? We could appoint a committee. But, a committee formed in the midst of so many untested ideas might find itself embarking down a very long road that turns out to lead ever deeper into the jungle. Perhaps we should put off deciding which approach is best, until we see some examples. Perhaps we should encourage everyone and every group with an idea to make a workable example of it. After a year or so, we’d have a number of examples, and a committee might reasonably be able to decide what an ideal interchange language ought to look like.

Of course, we don’t want to simply carve up the jungle into isolated camps. Avoiding a Balkanization of the SMILE means that folks need to keep in touch while working separately. We need a place where everyone can meet to exchange news, solicit opinions, post updates, offer advice, and borrow ideas. The Sloan School’s collaborative web space was designed for this. And so, I’ve taken the liberty of creating a “community space” for all of us. It’s seeded with a few documents, including Forio’s function-by-function comparison of the major system dynamics environments–an essential cheatsheet for anyone wondering what an interchange language needs to interchange. Email me at [email protected] for directions to this community. Then, drop by.


2003 Society Officers

Pål I. Davidsen


Robert Eberlein

President Elect

James H. Hines, Jr.

Past Presdent

Jay W. Forrester

Founding President

David Packer


David Andersen

VP Finance

John D. W. Morecroft

VP Publications

Ginny Wiley

VP Chapters

James M. Lyneis

VP Meetings

Brian C. Dangerfield

Editor, System Dynamics Review

Policy Council

Carol Frances

Mohammad Mojtahedzadeh

David Peterson

Habib Sedehi


Andreas Groessler

Taehoon Moon

Kevin O'Neill

Qingrui Xu


Deborah Campbell

David Lane

Scott Rockart

Etiënne Rouwette

(2003 - 2005)


Policy Council Nominations for 2004

The Society held its Winter Policy Council meeting on March 3, 2003 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

As defined in Policy 7 – Nominations and Elections, there is an annual election to fill any vacancies on the Policy Council. This year the Nominating Committee was composed of John Barton, Geoff Coyle, Pål Davidsen, Bob Eberlein, Jim Hines (Chair), George Richardson, Qifan Wang and Erich Zahn. At the March 3rd meeting, the Committee submitted a single nomination for each position to be filled in 2004. The Nominating Committee strove to ensure diversity on the Policy Council in terms of geographic representation, gender, and other factors deemed representative of the Society at large. The Policy Council recognized and accepted the slate of nominations:

President Elect: Graham Winch (2004)

VP Meetings: Jim Lyneis (2004 – 2006)

VP At Large: Bob Cavana (2004 – 2006)

Policy Council members: Allen Boorstein, David Exelby, Tim Haslett, and Gianliborio Marrone (2004 – 2006)


Call for Nominations

Jay Wright Forrester Award

The Jay Wright Forrester Award is presented as often as once annually for the best contribution to the field of system dynamics during the preceding five years. The recipient receives a commemorative plaque and US$5,000. Papers, articles, books, research or consulting reports, theses or other written material that have been published or are in publishable form in the English language, in the original or after translation, are eligible for consideration.

A nomination for the Forrester Award must include the following information:

            The name of the nominee.

            A complete citation of the work being nominated.

            Comments by the nominator explaining why he or she believes the work is the best contribution to the    field of system dynamics during the preceding five years.

            The name of the nominator.

Send your nomination to:

John Morecroft

Adjunct Associate Professor of Decision Science

London Business School

Regent's Park

London NW1 4SA


E-mail <[email protected]>

Tel +44 (0)20 7262 5050 x325

Fax +44 (0)20 7724 7875


Attention Academic Members!

Does your university library currently receive the System Dynamics Review? An institutional subscription benefits your local system dynamics community by giving access to the journal at your library. Such institutional subscriptions also build our partnership with our publisher John Wiley & Sons, and are a continuing source of financial support to the Society.

A university can support the field of system dynamics and the Society through direct financial sponsorship, encouraging membership, and subscribing to the journal as an institution. Many times locating funds for direct financial sponsorship may be challenging in a university setting, even for the many universities that have active programs and offerings in system dynamics. Purchasing the journal through your library would be a fantastic alternative to sponsorship, giving you as a Society member an opportunity to share in support, but perhaps avoiding the confines of direct financial sponsorship to the Society.

Details concerning an institutional subscription are available from the Society. To keep your university up to date and the field of system dynamics strong, your library should be receiving the System Dynamics Review. Please encourage your library to subscribe.

Jim Hines, Immediate Past President


News and Notes

Ed Anderson (Professor at the University of Texas, Austin and MIT Sloan School System Dynamics Group alumnus) has just won not one, but TWO awards from UT:  The Trammell/CBA Foundation Teaching Award for Assistant Professors and the College of Business Administration CBA Foundation Research Excellence Award for Assistant Professors. As the citation said,

“Your selection reflects the high regard in which you are held by students and colleagues, and it is a signal honor for you to be recognized simultaneously for your achievements in both teaching and research.”

Congratulations to Ed!

Magne Myrtveit is pleased to announce the start of his new firm called Dynaplan, located in Manger, Norway. It is a technology and service company offering methodology and technology for working with problems that involve complexity, dynamics and uncertainty.

Dynaplan delivers solutions that make use of elements from different fields, including system dynamics, risk management, and optimization. To learn more, please visit Dynaplan's website at <>.

Nelson Repenning, Associate Professor in system dynamics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has just been granted tenure. His research applies system dynamics to a wide range of important problems, from disasters to process improvement to product development to the dynamics of organizational change. You can read the terrific work he has been doing at <> and congratulate him at <[email protected]>.

On March 20/21, 2003, Mannheim University hosted a European System Dynamics Workshop. The workshop’s theme was “Concepts of rationality in system dynamics – Modeling human and organisational decision-making.” Local organisers Peter Milling and Andreas Größler welcomed about 50 participants from more than ten European countries. After Peter’s welcome speech and Andreas’ introductory talk seven one-hour sessions took place with presenters Kim Warren, Günther Ossimitz, Etiënne Rouwette, Rainer Schwarz, Isaac Dyner, Markus Schwaninger, and Yaman Barlas. The presentations were accompanied by moderated discussions lead by John Morecroft, Erich Zahn, Graham Winch, Jac Vennix, Alexander Ryzhenkov, David Lane and Frank Maier. As a guest speaker Werner Wittmann from Mannheim’s psychology department talked about intelligence and system’s controlling ability. The intense and fruitful professional atmosphere was supported by a joint social event:  a visit to a brewery and good food and drinks in the evening. Publications resulting from the workshop are planned comprising a summarising article in the System Dynamics Review and a special issue of Systems Research & Behavioural Science.

The Environmental Dynamics SIG is being organized for marking a protagonist presence at the international Sustainable Development scene, now featuring a number of specialized instruments (i.e. websites) delegated to carry out its various activities.

ED SIG’s governance and activities are kept transparent and widely accessible. Members are invited to participate in the administration, interact (e.g. participate in discussions), and shape the future! For general access, visit <>.

The immediate task of the ED SIG is to collect and organize all work done on “environmental” issues, whether published or unpublished. This collection shall be made permanently available on the Environmental Dynamics website system, constituting an international reference repository of Sustainable Development material. An evaluation of the upcoming collection is already scheduled for March 2004, to be carried out by the prestigious Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) for Current Web Contents (CWC) indexing.

So, don’t forget: (a) participate actively in the ED SIG administration and/or discussions; (b) submit your published or unpublished work to the permanent web repository. Questions and comments: Anastássios (Tasso) Perdicoúlis, <[email protected]>.

The Sustainability Interest Group and the ED SIG have joined forces. ED SIG’s main communication channel has been set as SDsustain, moderated by Dr. John Wolfenden <>. Discussions are posted at the ED SIG Forum <>.


Linda Booth Sweeney and Dennis Meadows are authors of a unique text, The Systems Thinking Playbook. The book fully describes thirty short exercises (5-20 minutes each) that convey principles related to paradigms, causal loop diagrams, reference modes, and system dynamics. This is learning by doing!! The entire book comprises over 260 pages of material. Each chapter includes detailed instructions for introducing, conducting, and debriefing one game. This is a wonderful, practical, tool kit for professors, consultants, and trainers. Normally the book costs $70 plus postage. Through a special arrangement with the System Dynamics Society all Society members can order this unique reference at a reduced price of $45, which includes US postage. Shipment outside the US is extra. Fax your order to +1 603 862 4140, or contact Sabina Foote at <[email protected]>. You must mention your membership in the Society in order to get your discount. In addition to your e-mail address, telephone number, and full mailing address, provide a VISA or Mastercard credit card number that may be billed for the cost of the book and international, airmail postage. American Express and Discover cards can not be used. You may request an estimate of the postage costs, before you order, by calling +1 603 862 2244 or e-mailing Sabina. This offer expires October 30, 2003.

The new “Virtual HSG” learning platform of St. Gallen University was used for the first time in July 2002 within the scope of an international seminar. Following the positive experience gathered, the way has been paved for further applications.

Due to political unrest, this summer Professor Markus Schwaninger from St. Gallen University (HSG) was not able to travel to Bogotá, where he was supposed to be giving a seminar on system dynamics at the Universidad de los Andes. So, the new HSG learning platform was put to use to be able to stage the course.

As this was the first event of its kind, technical uncertainty was still relatively high. Two IBM technicians, Christoph Stettlerand Klaus Bild, accompanied the event. Professor Camilo Olaya was available to students locally in Bogotá. He supported, coordinated and organized issues relating to content as well as provision of the technology. Besides an exchange of documentation by e-mail, whenever required sessions lasting several hours were staged, involving participants in St. Gallen and Bogotá. During the course of these sessions, communication was guaranteed via video and audio channels.

The following kinds of connections were used for the methods applied--impulsive talks by the lecturer, plenum discussions and presentations on a dynamic model with sensitivity analyses, validation experiments and “policy tests” in real time:  Audio and video channel for lectures, presentations and discussions; Application sharing: Powerpoint and the Ithink and Vensim simulation programs were jointly run on the HSG platform; Chat function for questions and comments by students who did not have microphones at their disposal or who did not want to interrupt an ongoing lecture. Questions addressed to lecturers were formulated in writing and were generally answered via the audio and video channel; E-mail supplemented submission of data records, especially “last-minute updates” of models; Telephone was used as a backup in the event of interruptions.

Professor Schwaninger’s assessment of the mission was positive: “It would have been impossible to stage this seminar successfully without the excellent support provided by IBM's technicians.” Content quality was also high: “The learning effect achieved by the students was enormous. They cooperated enthusiastically and they all said the course had been excellent.” His conclusion is clear: “The virtual seminar is a valuable option when it comes to lecturing on the international scale.”


The 1976 International Conference on System Dynamics

held at Geilo, Norway

contributed by Brian Dangerfield



Here’s a higher quality version of this picture. (Warning: Very big file; ~2.4 MB)





  1  R. J. Rahn

15  R. G. Coyle

29  D. Andersen

43  L. Ervik

57  J. Nørgaard

  2  M. S. Hamilton

16  B. Parker

30  R. Peckham

44  J. Randers

58  G. Low

  3  M. Rodriguez

17  S. Salama

31  J. Sharp

45  A. Håan

59  D. Runge

  4  J. Schüttner

18  R. Roman

32  P. Lindman

46  W. Thissen

60  J. McLeod

  5  J. Graf

19  B. Dangerfield

33  E. Camacho

47  G. Olavi

61  J. Bell

  6  B. Jones

20  J. Forrester

34  J. Nilsson

48  R. Beijdorf

62  D. Price

  7  N. J. Mass

21  H. Maier

35  K. Bellman

49  F. Wenstøp

63  N. Meyer

  8  P. M. Senge

22  K. Tank-Nielsen

36  W. Schunter

50  O. Gulbrandsen

64  C. Hauge

  9  S. Blegaa

23  L. Mathisen

37  H. Krallman

51  J. Quinn

65  F. de Mol

10  J. Robinson

24  K. Kalgraf

38  J. Geurts

52  L. Stenberg

66  W. Wils

11  J. Fredriksen

25  A. Graham

39  R. Mark

53  R. Herendeen

67  D. H. Meadows

12  G. Morlock-Rahn

26  W. Phillips

40  W. Ryer

54  J. Stanley-Miller

68  D. L. Meadows

13  J. Seeger

27  F. Rechenmann

41  L. Pedersen

55  K. Telford

69  R. Laulajainen

14  H. B. Weil

28  D. Petersen

42  S. Jessen

56  D. Nunn

70  R. Brown




News from Our Sponsors


Decision Dynamics, Inc.

Software Tools. Since its incorporation in 1979, Decision Dynamics, Inc. (DDI) and its sister company, Decision Dynamics Technologies, Inc. (DDTI) have been providing satisfied government and commercial clients with the information they need to support effective decision-making. DDI builds and employs sophisticated simulation modeling tools that quantify the complex cost, performance and schedule tradeoffs among competing “what-if?” scenarios. The tools, called “FleetSight” and “Workflow”, utilize advanced, proprietary techniques to bring the capabilities of system dynamics to the program analysis world.

“FleetSight,” a program cost and analysis decision tool, replicates the causal logic of real-world relationships and captures a wealth of data, both hard and soft. FleetSight users define “what-if?” scenarios to include alternative management decisions, alternative assumptions about system relationships and/or alternative data points from different sources.

Satisfied Customers. Over the past ten years, DDI has focused on building a solid reputation for building advanced modeling tools. The Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Sea Systems Command, the US Marine Corps, the US Air Force, Northrop Grumman, United Defense LP, and the US Coast Guard Deepwater Program currently head the list of satisfied clients.

More information is available at our website:  <>. Or call our company president, Victor Thombs, at +1 703 988 0623.

Delsys Research Group

Delsys Research Group is continuing to expand the scope of its system dynamics practice. Bob Walker, head of the System Dynamics Practice Group, recently completed a series of simulation models that will be used by federal and provincial governments to assess policy options for dealing with the growing shortage of nurses in Canada. Delsys has also completed modeling work for a public sector client in a project aimed at improving legal risk and litigation management practices. In other system dynamics projects, the firm assisted a law enforcement/regulatory agency to assess the potential operational impacts of government-on-line service initiatives and has injected systems thinking concepts into work for the OECD on sustainability of Regulatory Reform in Eastern European countries. The Delsys system dynamics team is expanding with the addition of Arif Mehmood, who has just completed his PhD in Transportation Planning at the University of Waterloo. Arif’s doctoral work focused on development of a system dynamics model simulating driver behavior for different traffic conditions. This model can be used in the design and evaluation of operational strategies for improving the performance and safety of road transportation systems. It is the first instance of system dynamics methodology being used in this context at Canada’s premiere engineering school.

General Motors

At General Motors, Phil Keenan (<[email protected]>) and Nick Pudar apply advanced quantitative modeling to address business strategy questions from senior management, with support from Mark Paich, Lyle Wallis and Norm Torre of Decisio LLP. The “Enterprise” model takes a broad look at the corporation and its marketplace, combining internal activities such as engineering, manufacturing and marketing with external factors such as competition in the new and used vehicle marketplaces. Eight manufacturers compete in 18 vehicle segments, allowing Monte-Carlo analysis of alternative strategies. The goal is to find improved strategies for managing the business that are robust across uncertainty about consumers, competitors, and the macro-economy. The “Vehicle Development System” model looks at the design of new vehicles and the constraints inherent in managing a portfolio of expensive, long lead-time projects. The group is developing a board game for executive training sessions based on insights from the simulation model. The “Human Resources” model takes a different approach, applying an agent-based modeling framework that represents each employee individually, rather than aggregating employees into stocks. The model incorporates the system dynamics way of thinking, with hiring and attrition flowing employees into and out of the Workforce stock, yet the agent representation allows efficient inclusion of a level of detail about the individuals which would be impractical using traditional system dynamics aging-chain models.

HVR Consulting Services Ltd

HVR’s system dynamics team continues to go from strength to strength. Now 20 people strong, we work for a broad range of clients in both the public and private sectors. In the past year we have completed a diverse range of high profile assignments including studies for the pharmaceutical and transport industries, and work in support of the UK and US Governments.

Our approach emphasises the need for rigor and discipline in the development of client models. All consultants are put through our own training in the methodology to ensure that they understand this approach and the tools that we use to support it. This training is also available to clients. We have also developed our own approach to validating system dynamics models which we apply on all our projects.

Our innovative approach is demonstrated by the fact that we have developed a number of tools which allow us to deliver models to clients with enhanced functionality such as sophisticated user interfaces and faster run times.

For more information contact Jonathan Coyle on +44 (0)1420 87977 or <[email protected]>, or visit <> or <>.

ITP Consultores

ITP is a consulting firm for strategy, regulation and organization that services the private and public sector and applies systems thinking and system dynamics in Latin America. As a consulting partner of High Performance Systems, Inc. in strategy, ITP has devoted resources to develop systems thinking and system dynamics training and education efforts in Venezuela. Its experience includes telecommunication (fixed-line, internet and cellular), education, banking and electricity sectors. Recognized as the leading firm in the field in Venezuela, ITP Consultores has developed a service concept and philosophy that devotes a unique kind of long term engagement with clients. ITP supports top leaders in their innovation efforts both in their organizations and the market place. ITP also supports managers and professionals of clients, making them “owners” of every phase of product and service development by training them and promoting their participation and development. ITP Consultores develops a business strategy that includes servicing selected countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.


Minase prefers to operate at the crossroads of science and business. Bringing innovative solutions or services to organizations is our goal. We focus on developing and introducing new models of collaboration in supply chains, networks or economic clusters. Creating Beauty Together is our credo that represents our belief that only the combination of our client’s knowledge of their business environment and our expertise leads to innovation. We strive to create solutions that can be regarded as things of beauty, as pieces of art.

System dynamics modeling is at the heart of our methodology “Renga.” Together with teams we analyse the root causes of the business issue and translate them to a system dynamics model. In the next step we explore various scenarios for future development. Recently we have built a model around a balanced scorecard approach for an insurance company. Preliminary results were presented during the Palermo conference and will also be published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society.

MIT System Dynamics Group

The MIT System Dynamics Group anticipates two changes during the summer of 2003. First is the retirement of Nan Lux, currently the group’s Program Manager, which is scheduled for late August, 2003.

In advance of this staff change, Nan and Prof. Jay Forrester have been organizing and scanning into Acrobat PDF files the Group's large collection of research papers commonly referred to as the “D-memos.” When the scanning project is completed, the 4,000 or so papers will be available on a DVD disk and probably will be distributed from the System Dynamics Society office in Albany, New York. The scanning project also includes many of the system dynamics master’s theses and doctoral dissertations from the 1950’s forward. Because the “D-memos” will be available electronically, the traditional System Dynamics Group Publications List will no longer be used for requesting copies of papers.

Prof. John D. Sterman continues as the Director of the System Dynamics Group. He can be reached at <[email protected]>. Jay Forrester will continue to be available at <[email protected]>.

Mohaseboon Business & Financial Consultancies

Mohaseboon is taking the lead in Egypt and the Middle East for adopting system dynamics methodology as well as spreading this culture. Providing such tools amongst our Advanced Business Management Solutions encouraged us to expand our activities to include, in addition to Egypt (our headquarters), another 14 countries in the Middle East, namely Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.

Mohaseboon is always looking for excellence; a few months back, we became the exclusive distributor of Ventana Systems, Inc. Recently Dr. Mohamed Saleh (<[email protected]>) became the head of system dynamics. At the moment he is preparing, in coordination with Mr. Walid S. Badr, Managing & Consulting Director (<[email protected]>), a library of models by using the vast capabilities provided by Vensim. Also, we are in negotiations between some Egyptian Universities, other interested educational institutions and a well-known British University, in order to prepare a complete course of system dynamics to be provided in Egypt and the Middle East.

Mohaseboon has participated in several events recently. One of the most important was the GasTech Event, which took place in Cairo at the beginning of March.  We are focusing upon the industrial sector, mainly oil, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Please visit <> for more information.

Powersim Solutions

Powersim Solutions provides the answer to the growing need by enterprises for how to use simulation models to solve their business problems. Powersim Solutions provides the technology solutions that enable companies to use simulation models specifically for either strategic planning (ExPlan) or management training (ExTrain) purposes. These proprietary systems provide company executives with a risk-free environment to run sophisticated and dynamic business models for planning purposes or building the essential business skills that can enhance their strategic perspectives.

In addition Powersim Solutions also licenses its strategic planning (ExPlan) and management training (ExTrain) platforms to enable its partners and software vendors deliver web-based simulation solution to their customers.

Powersim Solutions’ platform technology is built on the patented modeling and simulation technologies developed by Powersim Corporation over the last twelve years, which have been in use worldwide by several global corporations, governments and research institutions for modeling and simulation. Powersim uses the system dynamics methodology, which is composed of feedback theoryand the techniques of computer simulation to create sophisticated and dynamic business models. The system dynamics methodology was developed at MIT in the early 1960’s and has both a multi- and inter-disciplinary application across industries and problem areas.

Project Performance Corporation

Project Performance Corporation specializes in applications for the public sector. PPC develops custom decision support tools for complex projects and programs in the areas of policy analysis, environmental analysis, program management, and national security. In the past year, PPC has responded to defense initiatives in the areas of homeland security and combat analysis. Other applications include dynamic modeling of salmon species in parts of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. In the coming year, we have pledged our commitment to addressing complex decisions at the national level.

PPC was founded in 1991 and has grown steadily to more than 100 employees located across the USA. The company is located in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. For information, please visit our website at <> or contact Greg Love at <[email protected]>.

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany

The System Dynamics Group at the University at Albany was very lucky to have Dr. Pål Davidsen visiting as part of his activities related to assuming the presidency of the Society; he was in Albany to visit the Society office, meet with the staff, meet with faculty teaching system dynamics, and talk to masters and doctoral students involved in system dynamics-related work.

Also visiting Albany is Silvia Ulli-Beer, a PhD student from the Institute of Management of the University of St. Gallen. Silvia is spending a year of research exchange exploring solid-waste management initiatives for Switzerland using system dynamics.

Dr. George P. Richardson has received the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

During the spring semester, Drs. David and Deborah Andersen are enjoying a sabbatical stay in Glasgow, Scotland, working very hard on their academic endeavors.

Last April 11, at the First Latin American System Dynamics Congress in Monterrey, Mexico, George Richardson was invited to deliver a special plenary session. His talk explored the importance of the use of system dynamics to tackle the “big problems” that societies over the world face. Also, Ignacio J. Martinez-Moyano presented a plenary session at the Congress.

Centre for O.R. & Applied Statistics:  University of Salford, U.K.

At the start of this year a new doctoral student in System Dynamics joined the CORAS research students. His name is Yan Gang Xing (Yan) and his research will involve the development of a model to explore issues surrounding sustainable tourism with particular reference to island tourist economies. In Europe these belong to Spain and Greece in the main and comprise destinations which are extremely popular for a summer vacation for the people of Northern Europe.

Many of these destinations have seen their numbers of tourist visitors grow phenomenally since, say, the 1960’s and local pressures are beginning to be felt. Visitors to the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean last summer were the first to experience a tourist tax which was imposed by the Spanish government in an effort to generate a financial resource flow to deal with the consequences of the ever-increasing number of visitors. Modeling the likely consequences of initiatives such as this will comprise a significant aspect of the research to be conducted by Yan.

Toshiro Shimada, Japanese System Dynamics Chapter

The Japanese Chapter (Chairman, Professor Hidenori Kobayashi, <[email protected]>) now has four research subcommittees, as follows:

1. Shimada ressearch subcommittee (national welfare pension model and Tokyo Metropolitan region model),

2. Research subcommittee for business process dynamics,

3. Resesarch subcommittee for the natural and social environment,

4. Research subcommittee for system dynamics education.

We are currently involved in these areas of research, and plan to publish a few research papers this year.

Ventana Systems

Ventana Systems, Inc. is pleased to announce the availability version 5.1 of Vensim. With the new ability to connect to databases using ODBC Vensim DSS makes it easy to integrate system dynamics models into corporate information systems. A number of new financial functions, and more flexible connections to spreadsheets also make it easier to perform financial computations without exporting simulation results for further processing.

Ventana continues to make Vensim PLE available for educational use without charge and has a family of products to meet all modeling needs. The revolutionary SyntheSim capability brings structure and behavior together allowing you to instantly see the results of changes to model assumptions. SyntheSim will work with any model, automatically providing you with sliders and showing you how model behavior changes as you move them. You can also effortlessly cut feedback loops by overriding the behavior of different model variables to localize the sources of dynamics.

More details on Vensim are available from our product website, <>. Ventana also provides consulting services and has deep experience in a number of areas including corporate strategy, supply chain control, project management and production control. For more information visit our corporate website, <>.

Ventana Systems UK

Ventana Systems UK undertake consultancy and provide various levels of training and support in system dynamics and Vensim. We support the sale and maintenance of the software in the UK and have developed the Sable application. Sable enables Vensim modelers to create user-friendly interfaces, for example, for management flight simulators, in next to no time, and with no programming. The Sable suite enables models to be packaged and distributed with ease, and solutions may be distributed over a LAN or the Internet using SableNet. Animation objects and multi-media can be used in addition to the usual Vensim features and tools including Causal Tracing, SyntheSim and embedded Vensim diagrams. We run courses in the use of Vensim and Sable, including basic and advanced Vensim, a weeklong intensive tuition course, and ad-hoc training support specifically designed to meet client requirements. We are located in Salisbury and Southampton, in the South of England, and now also in Liverpool in the North. Please contact Andrew Hill (email <[email protected]>, tel +44 (0) 1722 505 763), Lee Jones (email <[email protected]>, tel +44 (0) 151 513 9779) or Tony Kennedy (email <[email protected]>, tel +44 (0) 23 8090 9838) to discuss consultancy or training support or for further information on Vensim and Sable.


Additional Sponsors of the System Dynamics Society


Amber Blocks Ltd. New York, NY, USA

Frank Davidson Lexington, Massachusetts, USA

Jay W. Forrester Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Georgia-Pacific Corporation Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Hall, Vasil & Dowd, CPAs Belmont, Massachusetts, USA

Hewlett-Packard CompanyPalo Alto, California, USA

High Performance Systems Hanover, New Hampshire, USA

Nijmegen School of Management, Nijmegen University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Pegasus Communications Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

Proyectos Comerciales de México, S.A. de C.V.una empresa de Grupo Proyectos, Querétaro, México

Text Box: Deadlines and Key Dates
May 16, 2003
Deadline for material to be included in the electronic proceedings. Session proposals due. Presenter registration deadline.
June 20, 2003
Early conference registration deadline.
July 2, 2003
Hotel room registration deadline.
July 20, 2003
Conference Opening 
New York City!
Conference Contacts:
Conference Chair:
Michael J. Radzicki
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts USA
Program Chair:
Robert L. Eberlein
Ventana Systems, Inc.
Wayland, Massachusetts USA
Local Hosts:
Allen Boorstein
Amber Blocks, Ltd.
New York, New York USA
Nicholas Georgantzas
Fordham University Schools of Business, New York, NY, USA
Program Manager:
Vedat G. Diker 
University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York, USA
Conference Manager:
Roberta L. Spencer
Executive Director
System Dynamics Society
Milne 300 - Rockefeller College
University at Albany
State University of New York
Albany, New York 12222 USA
Phone: +1-518-442-3865
Fax: +1-518-442-3398
The Twenty-first International Conference of the

System Dynamics Society     July 20 – 24, 2003



For the latest information on the Conference, please visit


The Roosevelt Hotel, New York City

Conference Host: Worcester Polytechnic Institute  Conference Local Co-hosts:  Amber Blocks Ltd. and Fordham University Schools of Business


Conference Sponsors:  •Agder University College  •Amber Blocks Ltd.

•Amerikus Importers Corporation  •Amtrak  •Avra Estiatorio  •BearingPoint

•Forio Business Simulations  •GE Corporate Research & Development (GE CRD)

•Georgia-Pacific Corporation  •Global Strategy Dynamics, Ltd.  •Hellenic Chapter

•High Performance Systems, Inc.  •HVR Consulting Services, Ltd.

•John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.  •Lane Press of Albany  •Pegasus Communications, Inc.

•Powersim Solutions, Inc.  •The Roosevelt Hotel  •United Airlines

•The University at Albany, State University of New York  •Ventana Systems Inc.

•Waters Foundation  •XJ Technologies


Professor Jay W. Forrester will speak on Economic Theory for the New Millennium. Building on decades of research, Professor Forrester will discuss the modeling work he has done in economic dynamics, the kinds of insights it offers, how it relates to other theories, and how system dynamics models can be used to explicate and explore what would otherwise be murky verbal theories. Jay W. Forrester is Professor of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the founder of the field of system dynamics.

Celebrating the Diversity of System Dynamics: A Tribute to Barry Richmond. This special session will highlight the variety of problems and issues to which system dynamics is being applied and the variety of techniques by which it is applied. Speakers will provide their insights into the work that has been and is being done. Mark Paich and Steve Peterson will convene this session.

The conference theme of Economic Dynamics will be the focus of a special session with presentations from people working in the field and applying system dynamics techniques to advance their research. Presentations will highlight work in heterodox economics that can complement and inform system dynamics approaches to understanding economic issues. Michael Radzicki of Worcester Polytechnic Institute will convene this session.

There will be additional plenary presentations, as well as parallel and poster presentations drawn from the works submitted. There will also be a number of convened parallel sessions on special topics including security, energy, and logistics. Nicholas Georgantzas of Fordham University will convene a session on quality management. A symposium on psychology will be convened by Elise Weaver of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The program will include hands-on workshops and tutorial sessions led by senior people in the field. Workshops will run in parallel on the final day of the conference. Throughout the conference the third annual Modeling Assistance Workshop will pair those with modeling questions to experienced people for one-on-one coaching. Pre-conference and evening Strategy Dynamics Workshops are scheduled for Sunday and Wednesday. Exhibitor demonstrations will be held during lunch on Monday and Tuesday to showcase products and services in practice.

The fourth annual PhD Student Colloquium is scheduled to meet on Sunday, July 20th. Other events will include the Business Roundtable, Economic Roundtable, Military Roundtable, Health Policy Roundtable, Award Ceremonies, Chapter and Special Interest Group meetings, the third annual SD Career Link Bulletin Board and the Coursework in System Dynamics Display Table. The Social Program tentatively includes an Informal Gathering (Cash Bar) on Sunday during and after registration, the Welcome Reception, sponsored by Powersim Solutions, Inc., on Monday and the Conference Banquet on Tuesday.

Contact Us

System Dynamics Society

Milne 300, Rockefeller College

University at Albany

Albany, New York 12222


Ph: +1 518 442 3865

Fx: +1 518 442 3398

E-mail:  [email protected]

Web:  www.

Roberta L. Spencer, Executive Director

The System Dynamics Newsletter is published two times a year by the System Dynamics Society.

This issue was edited by Pål I. Davidsen, Roberta L. Spencer, and Jennifer Rowe.