Core System Dynamics Modeling Software

When the book Industrial Dynamics was published it used Dynamo as the modeling language. Dynamo was a breakthrough at the time, and foreshadowed a number of numerical modeling approaches and non-procedural programming languages. It was a text based system for representing model equations and continued to be used for multiple decades as the basis for such works as Urban DynamicsWorld Dynamics and The Limits to Growth. Current software for System Dynamics is diagram based, but the equations are still part of the model and retain forms quite similar to those of Dynamo.

The most commonly used software packages are listed below in alphabetical order.  Additional tools that support model construction are noted at the end.

DYNAMO: If you have old DYNAMO models and want to make them run again, you can try the free and open source DYNAMO interpreter at

iThink® and STELLA® are two names for one model development platform published by isee systems. The software is available in different configurations under a commercial license for Windows and Macintosh computers. Educational licenses and a free runtime version of the software are available.

Powersim Studio is available in a number of different configurations from Powersim Software. The software is available under  commercial license and runs under Windows. Educational licenses and options for publishing standalone model packages are available. A new free version, Studio Express is now available.

Vensim® is available in a number of different configurations from Ventana Systems, Inc. The software is available under commercial, funded research and academic use licenses and runs on Windows and the Macintosh. Ventana has been supporting education for many years by providing a learning edition of the software that is free for academic use.

See Also: There are a number of other products that can be used to construct models. These include: Anylogic, Goldsim, Berkely Madonna, Sysdea and SimGua under related methodologies under pedagogical tools.

Software Extending the System Dynamics Methodology

At its heart System Dynamics is about feedback, and feedback can manifest in a number of ways beyond the classic stock and flow structure behind the integral equation view that underlies most work in system dynamics. The tools listed here allow integral equation models to be built, but also support alternative representations.

Anylogic, from XJ Technologies, supports models containing discrete event, agent based and system dynamics constituents. It is available under a commercial license.

Dynaplan® Smia, from Dynaplan, combines elements of simulation modeling, spreadsheet modeling and presentation development in an integrated platform. It is available under a commercial license.

GoldSim, from The GoldSim Technology Group, has a focus on Monte Carlo simulation but can support stock and flow style modelling. It is available under a commercial license.

Berkley Madonna uses a differential equation representation to develop models. It is available under a commercial license.

Powersim Studio, a core tool also permits discrete modeling and combined continuous/discrete modeling. It can be used to do some agent based modeling. It is extensible with VBScript and C++ routines. Please see the Core Software page.

Simile, from Simulistics, is  system dynamics and object based modeling and simulation software.  It is available under a commercial license.

Simgua is a visually based model development environment. It is available under a commercial license.

TRUE,  from TRUE-WORLD, is visually oriented software for developing and animating models.  It is now (2014-02-05) freeware.

Ventity is available from Ventana Systems, Inc.  Ventity is provided commercially on a low-cost subscription basis and is free to academic and Vensim DSS users.  Ventity provides system dynamics with an object-oriented structure that supports agent modeling using stock and flow models for user-defined entity types. Ventity is available for 64-bit Windows environments.