>> Australasian Chapter

In June, members of the Australasian Chapter met at Griffith University on the Gold Coast to discuss plans for the next Asia Pacific System Dynamics Conference, which will be held in Australia. The meeting also allowed System Dynamics PhD students from Griffith University and the University of Queensland to meet with the aim of establishing a postgraduate student seminar series.

In July, Carl Smith and Russell Richards transferred to the University of Queensland Business School (they were formerly located within the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences). Together with Sue McAvoy, they plan to establish System Dynamics courses within the undergraduate and postgraduate programs offered by the UQ Business School. Sue McAvoy is currently working within the Centre for Implementing Evidence to Improve Health. There she is applying System Dynamics to improve the management of hospitals. Any prospective students wishing to do a PhD in this area should contact Sue McAvoy (s.mcavoy@business.uq.edu.au).

Also in July, three PhD students from Griffith University and the University of Queensland participated at the 4th System Dynamics Summer School held at MIT (Cambridge, MA, USA), followed by the 35th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society. Emiliya Suprun and Thuc Phan (Griffith University) presented their research at the poster symposium during the conference. Danielle Currie (University of Queensland) gave a plenary presentation at the PhD Colloquium.

On the 28th of September, the University of New South Wales held a Systems Modelling Conference. For details, please click here.

In October, Carl Smith and Russell Richards will participate in the ASEAN Community in Higher Education Institute, to be held in Bali, Indonesia. The Institute is intended to facilitate collaboration among ASEAN universities. It aims to provide a platform for university leaders to discuss how higher education can implement the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 framework in the ASEAN region. Carl and Russell have been invited to run a workshop on systems thinking at the institute. The Institute is being organized by the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) and will be attended by members from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Malaysia, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Indonesia, Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT), Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) and the Southeast Asian Minister of Education Regional Center for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED).

Alice Chang-Richards from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the University of Auckland, is establishing a System Dynamics Research Group to bring together SD practitioners from across New Zealand. Alice has been an active advocate for system thinking in engineering disciplines and the use of SD in teaching and research at the postgraduate level. Her PhD student, Olabode Ayodele, is working on the use of SD to address the issue of high labor turnover in the construction sector. He will present his findings at the 2017 New Zealand Built Environment Symposium.

Members of the Australasian Chapter meeting at Griffith University. From left to right: Oz Sahin (Staff member, Griffith University), Mehdi Hafezi (PhD student, Griffith University), Russell Richards (Staff member, University of Queensland), Carl Smith (Staff member, University of Queensland), Matt Herington (PhD student, University of Queensland), Craig Jacobson (PhD student, University of Queensland), Stefen MacAskill (PhD student, Griffith University), Rodney Stewart (Staff member, Griffith University), Edoardo Bertone (Staff member, Griffith University), Emiliya Suprun (PhD student, Griffith University).

>> China Chapter

On July 18, 2017, during the 35th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society, the China Chapter Round Table Meeting was held by Prof. Qi Jiayin from the School of Management, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics. Around 30 scholars from China and other countries such as the United States, Canada, Italy, and more attended the meeting. Prof. Qi introduced the development and applications of System Dynamics in China, the contributions Chinese scholars made in the field, especially the modeling methodology created by Prof. Jia Renan and his research team. The challenges and opportunities of System Dynamics in the new era with big data led to a heated discussion during the meeting. Prof. Qi also introduced the collaborative PhD program of SUIBE and UNIPA.

Prof. John Sterman also came to the China Chapter meeting and had a picture with some of the participants.

In September 2017, Systems Engineering—Theory & Practice published a research article that was co-authored by Liu Jing-hua, Jia Ren'an, et al. entitled "Modeling method of structure behavior inspection added branches tree by tree—Taking rural biogas engineering as an example." This paper documents a new modeling method of structure behavior inspection added branches tree by tree based on feedback control by way of simulation..

In April 2017, a participatory System Dynamics workshop on the energy performance gap in green buildings of China was hosted in Tsinghua University. About 50 scholars from Tsinghua University and University College London, as well as experts from industries, attended this workshop. After two days of group discussions, facilitated by Prof. Borong Lin from Tsinghua and Prof. Mike Davies from UCL, an integrated causal loop diagram illustrating the mechanism of energy performance gap in green buildings was developed.

In Oct, 2016, the annual meeting of the Systems Engineering Society of China was held in Beijing, China. The System Dynamics Committee, which is affiliated to SESC held a forum on SD application and innovation during the meeting, which involved more than 50 system dynamicists. Twelve presentations are delivered by scholars from Nanchang University, Fudan University, Shanghai University, Qingdao University, Beijing Jiaotong University, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, and others. The scholars presented their research work and the participants had many good discussions.

The China Chapter of the System Dynamics Society held their regular meeting on March 18th, 2017, which focused on the planning of society activities. A conference of SD in China was planned to be held at the end of 2017. The China Chapter of SD now has meetings at least twice in a year. Another meeting will be held soon.

Submitted by Haiyan Yan on behalf of the China Chapter. Back to Top

>> Economics Chapter

The Feedback Economics book contributions are being collated and a contract with a publisher is being sought. The UK Chapter held an Economics-themed event at Kingston University, UK, with both Brian Dangerfield and Steve Keen as speakers. Brian Dangerfield put forward an economics modelling 'Brexit' challenge (again mainly to UK Chapter but open to all): The Economic Consequences Of BREXIT: A Challenge for the System Dynamics Community.

"Learning Economics with Dynamic Modeling", a Ukrainian-focused project coordinated by University of Bergen professor David Wheat, continues to expand. A second university, the Central Bank, and public school teachers have joined the initiative. In the 2016-17 academic year, there were new SD courses at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, presentations of SD-based monetary policy modeling by Wheat at the National Bank of Ukraine, and 25 Ukrainian students and professors in Bergen using SD methods to model Ukraine's economy. The activities accelerated in August 2017, with the arrival of 20 more Ukrainian students and professors to spend the autumn semester in Bergen. In addition, Wheat recently hosted NBU's chief economist and they compared modeling methods, met with economists at the central banks of Norway and Lithuania, and began a new collaborative monetary policy modeling project. The project is funded by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education.

Oleg Pavlov, an associate professor at WPI, and Yoon Jeon Kim, a researcher at MIT’s Teaching Systems Lab, continue their work on a Spencer Foundation funded project “A Game-Based Pedagogical Framework for Promoting Systems Thinking Skills.” Lees Stuntz of the Creative Learning Exchange and Steven Roderick, a science teacher, also participate in the project. The Game-Based Structural Debriefing (GBSD) is a pedagogical innovation that helps teachers cultivate systems thinking skills by introducing video games into the classroom. The framework is based on the literature of systems thinking and System Dynamics modeling. This study uses the design-based research method to refine the framework and investigate its efficacy at both teacher and student levels.

Submitted by Daniel Arthur, David Wheat and Oleg Pavlov on behalf of the Economics Chapter. Back to Top

>> German Chapter

The German Chapter, Deutsche Gesellschaft für System Dynamics e. V. (DGSD), held its 11th annual meeting on September 18th and 19th with more than 30 participants. Their host was the Federal Agency of the Environment in Dessau, Germany. The Agency is located in an architecturally outstanding and environmental-friendly building.

This year’s international guest speaker was Dr. Jeroen Struben from EMLyon, France. Jeroen gave two well received presentations on his approach for estimating parameter values under peer effects at the example of hybrid electric vehicles and on his work on market transformations in the automotive industry.

Another highlight was a guided conversation with the DGSD’s honorary members, Prof. Peter Milling and Prof. Erich Zahn, on Prof. Jay Forrester’s life and contributions. The conversation was led by Florian Kapmeier.

At the annual meeting, Dr. Stefan Grösser was awarded with the 10th Gert von Kortzfleisch Prize for outstanding SD work in Germany. In addition, the program featured a Research Colloquium, a PhD Colloquium, and an Application Colloquium. On the first day, Ulli Lorenz, our host, gave an overview of System Dynamics work at the Federal Agency of the Environment and Kai Neumann gave a deeper insight into one of the projects at the UBA towards more sustainability. In the same vein, Max Kleemann presented the Millennium Institute’s approach on supporting developing countries in designing good policies.

Presentations in the PhD Colloquium included one by Maximilian Happach on energy storage and another one by Gian Wieck, student of European Master Programme in System Dynamics and DGSD scholarship holder. Gian presented work he has been doing during his studies on the real estate market in Lisbon.

The Application Colloquium featured a presentation by Philipp Massari on future trends in the tobacco industry, a preentation by Heiko Spitzer on infrastructure investments in the energy industry, and one by Werner Boysen on the link between Zen and systems thinking. In the Research Colloquium, Simon Glöser-Chahoud presented his work on dynamics in the resource systems and Florian Kapmeier talked about first insights into the analysis of the World Climate role play which he had gathered as part of an international team. As usual, the more informal activities are important to mention: participants had the chance to join a guided tour through the Bauhaus in Dessau, the German art school operational from 1919 to 1933. The Bauhaus, a UNESCO World Heritage building was designed by Walter Gropius after the school had to move from Weimar to Dessau. Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe was the last director of the Bauhaus before he migrated to the US and became head of the architectural school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Altogether, it was an excellent and inspiring meeting at a great location.

Further details are available at the Chapter website, which can be found by going to the Activities and Resources link on the Society website.

The program of the 11th annual meeting was well received, especially due to the combination of the invited guest speaker, a museum visit, and the special session with Prof. Peter Milling and Prof. Erich Zahn. In May/June of 2018, the DGSD is planning to celebrate 50 years System Dynamics in Germany!

Submitted by Florian Kapmeier on behalf of the German Chapter. Back to Top

>> Iran Chapter

On July 18, 2017, within the framework of the 35th International System Dynamics Conference, members of the Iran Chapter convened for the Chapter’s 3rd annual meeting, chaired by Babak Bahaddin. Babak kicked off the session by giving a brief history and background of the Chapter, which was established two years ago, and is now one of the largest and fastest growing Chapters of the System Dynamics Society in terms of membership.

Afterwards, Ali Mashayekhi reported on the recent establishment and upcoming plans of Iran’s National System Dynamics Society, which has recently been registered at the Iranian Department of Science, Research, and Technology. The Society aims to hold a conference every year, as well as additional talks and debate sessions once or twice per year. The first Iranian System Dynamics Conference is now tentatively scheduled for around Christmas time (which makes it easier for Iranian expats to attend–Christmas is not a holiday in Iran). More information can be found on the Iran Chapter’s website.

Roles and responsibilities of the Iran Chapter were assigned as follows:

On September 13, the Iran Chapter of the System Dynamics Society held the First National Convention titled, "The Challenges of Higher Education in Iran," at Sharif University of Technology. Dr. Ali Naghi Mashayekhi, President of Iran Chapter and Dr. Abdol Rahim Nave Ebrahim, presented their ideas. Dr. Mashayekhi discussed the dynamics of higher education and its future. Also, Dr. Nave Ebrahim discussed the dynamics of introducing new disciplines in knowledge production system. The Convention is a part of a series organized by the Iran Chapter. The videos of this seminar are available here.

On September 5th at Sharif University of Technology, the Iran Chapter of the System Dynamics Society held a seminar titled “System Dynamics Modeling for Complex Sociotechnical Problems,” by Society member Dr. Mohammad Jalali, research faculty member at MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr. Jalali discussed challenges and opportunities in research, from data collection to publishing the results, and the best practices for increasing the replicability of research and dissemination of findings. The seminar was a part of a series organized by the Iran Chapter. You can watch Dr. Jalali’s talk here.

The Iran Chapter of the System Dynamics Society is pleased to announce its first conference on System Dynamics to be held on December, 2017 at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran. The conference organizers invite you to send your papers to the conference chairs by November 6, 2017: Ali Mashayekhi (mashayek@sharif.edu) and Mohammadreza Hamidizadeh (m-hamidizadeh@sbu.ac.ir). More details on submission formatting guidelines, program aims, key dates, and the organizing committee can be found here.

Submitted by Babak Bahaddin on behalf of the Iran Chapter. Back to Top

>> Italian Chapter

In 2017 the System Dynamics Italian Chapter (hereafter, SYDIC), carried out the following key activities:

Notably, the number of chapter members increased by around 50% (13 units) during the year 2017.

In January 2018, the Italian System Dynamics Chapter will hold its next annual meeting. The Chapter will also jointly organize, along with the BSLab, the workshop “Co-creating responsible futures in the digital age: exploring new paths towards economic, social and environmental sustainability.” The workshop will be hosted by the University of Naples “Federico II” (Napoli, Italy, January 22-24 2018), where there is now a long-standing track on System Dynamics modelling and simulation, which will also feature a Special issue on the Springer’s Journal of Simulation.

All relevant information on past and future activities of the System Dynamics Italian Chapter can be found here.

Submitted by Federico Barnabè on behalf of the Italian Chapter. Back to Top

>> Japan Chapter

The Japan Chapter of the System Dynamics Society held a public lecture about SD modeling on August 30, 2017 at Nihon University (Tokyo, Japan). A talk was given by Professor Yutaka Takahashi (Senshu University, Policy Council Member of SDS, and Japan Chapter Vice President). Over a two hour period, he lectured an audience, which consisted both of academic researchers and business practitioners, on how to create good models and write documents. The Chapter plans to broadcast the lecture on the internet soon, as was done following last year's public lecture. It is hoped that this public lecture will boost submissions to the national conference and the next international conference.

Japan Chapter is holding the Annual National Conference on November 11, 2017 at Nihon University. There will be many academic and professional presentations and invited lecturers. One of invited speakers is Professor Nobuhide Tanaka (Gakushuin University), a longstanding System Dynamics leader in Japan. Prof. Tanaka hosted the International conference of SDS in Tokyo in 1995, and has presented many works at international SD conferences.

The Japan Chapter also announced the new book System Dynamics, by Professor Nobuhide Tanaka and Professor Yutaka Takahashi, published by Sanwei Shuppan Publishing. This is the first book covering authentic terminology of System Dynamics and introducing procedure of SD modeling and simulations matching knowledge accepted in a general SD field in Japan and in Japanese Language.

Submitted by Yutaka Takahashi on behalf of the Japan Chapter. Back to Top

>> Latin-American Chapter

The Latin-American Chapter has the mission to help the System Dynamics community grow in the Spanish speaking countries. Founded in 2003, the chapter has Latin-American members from Mexico to Chile, as well from Spain and a growing number of Spanish speakers living in other countries.

We had the opportunity to gather around during the past 35th International Conference of the System Dynamics Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The topics we covered during our meeting were related to our next "XV SD Latin American Conference," which will take place in Santiago de Chile, October 18-20, 2017.

The Latin America Chapter Meeting at 2017 ISDC

The program of the conference includes keynote speakers, as well as workshops and parallel sessions with the relevant work from our chapter colleagues.

We have confirmed the following Keynote-speakers:

Santiago Valley Skyline

We are currently working to gather relevant information from academics, students, and practitioners, including their research topics. We look forward to fostering research networks and collaboration. This list will also give us actual information to re-launch our distribution list as well as our web page. You can follow the news here.

If you like to join us please contact Gloria Pérez.

Submitted by Gloria Pérez Salazar on behalf of the Latin-American Chapter. Back to Top

>> South Africa Chapter

The South Africa System Dynamics (SASD) Chapter held its 4th Annual System Dynamics Conference on November 17-18, 2016, hosted by Stellenbosch University, in collaboration with Eskom SOC. There were 48 participants from across South Africa who attended the conference. Prof Alan Brent, the President of the SASD Chapter, offered a brief welcome and introduced the new SASD Chapter Policy Council for 2017 (listed below).

Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector of Research and Innovation, Stellenbosch University, welcomed the participants and pointed out the importance of innovation for sustainable existence as the planet is fast approaching its carrying capacity. He emphasized that we are called upon to arise and address global problems pertaining to the economy, energy, environment, agriculture, leadership, technology, and health to ensure a happy and prosperous tomorrow.

The Conference keynote address was delivered by Dr Morné Mostert, Director of the Institute for Futures Research at Stellenbosch University. His keynote address, captioned “vuja de,” challenged us to change our approach to assessing familiar problems with a new mindset. This would offer unique perspectives and solutions for contemporary issues.

From left to right: Dr Morné Mostert, Ms Nalini Sooknanan Pillay (Vice-president: SASD), Prof Eugene Cloete, Prof Josephine Kaviti Musango (Secretariat: SASD), Prof Alan Brent

Twenty-six papers were presented on November 17, 2016, with various topics relating to, among others, issues on: energy, sustainable cities, health and nutrition, sustainable resource management, and water. On November 18, 2016, participants role-played global climate agreements using the World Climate Simulation, developed by Climate Interactive, MIT Sloan School of Management, and the UML Climate Change Initiative System Dynamics. This was facilitated by Dr Jai Clifford-Holmes, Shane Carnoham, Suzanne Smit, and Paul Currie. The climate simulation demonstrated the complexities and dynamics involved in these negotiations, and that it requires concerted efforts of all the nations to work towards the two degrees Celsius target.

Participants engaged in global climate agreement role-play

From left to right: Nic Cloete-Hopkins, Paul Currie, Leon Pretorius, Andries Botha, Daniel Booyens, Mapule Ntsonane, Josephine Musango, Nalini Sooknanan Pillay, Benjamin Batinge, Alan Brent

Several awards and recognitions were given at the 4th Annual System Dynamics Conference for outstanding achievement. The Awards were sponsored by Eskom SOC and the Wits Transnet Centre of Systems Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand. The winners were:

The Policy Council members of the South Africa System Dynamics Chapter for 2017 are:

President: Prof. Alan C Brent
Vice President: Nalini Sooknanan Pillay
Organising Secretary: Prof. Josephine K Musango
Shadow Organising Secretary: Mapule Ntsoane
Treasurer: Nic Cloete-Hopkins
Elected Members: Paul Currie, Daniel Booyens, Andries Botha, Prof. Leon Pretorius, Benjamin Batinge (newly elected student representative)

Courses have been held in various institutions across South Africa. Eskom SOC successfully held their Applied System Dynamics course in February, April, and September, and plan an upcoming one in October, which will have a total of 45 participants completing in 2017. At Stellenbosch University, 20 students were enrolled for a dedicated postgraduate module in System Dynamics modelling.

Regular Chapter meetings have been held so far, including two Policy Council meetings held on March 1, 2017, and September 6, 2017, respectively; and the Chapter Roundtable held in Boston on July 19, 2017, attended by six participants.

Participants attending the South Africa Chapter Roundtable Meeting held in Boston

The South Africa Chapter is preparing for its 5th Annual System Dynamics Conference, which will be held November 27-28, 2017, at the Eskom Research Testing and Development Centre, Rosherville, Johannesburg. Registration is open and can be completed at this link. More information on the SASD Chapter can be obtained from the website.

Submitted by Josephine Kaviti Musango on behalf of the South Africa Chapter. Back to Top

>> Student Chapter

The Student Chapter is actively involved in forming new peer-mentoring groups. Joining a group provides opportunities to share knowledge, and get feedback on research. There is also the opportunity to have senior System Dynamics practitioners join the group and provide expert insights on your current work. Please reach out to the Student Chapter President, Larry Gottschamer, if you are interested in joining or forming a new group.

The Student Chapter is engaging the Policy Council to create new positions filled by senior SD experts to advise the chapter, identify experts to engage with students both at the colloquium, and throughout the year.

The Student Chapter is also in the process of formally defining the roles and responsibilities of the leadership positions. We have also incorporated the PhD colloquium into the chapter, and created a new position responsible for organizing it. As the Society outsources management responsibilities, the Chapter is negotiating what support the Society can provide the Chapter for the Colloquium.

Please visit the Student Chapter Facebook page.

Submitted by Larry Gottschamer on behalf of the Student Chapter. Back to Top

>> UK Chapter

The UK Chapter of the SD Society held its annual conference in April 2017 at South Bank University, London, attended by over 60 people. To recognize the 60th anniversary of the founding of System Dynamics by Jay Forrester, the conference theme was: “60 years on, still looking forward. Seriously modelling what matters and building up the field.” On the first day an introductory session, led by Kim Warren, gave newcomers to SD a chance to try model building; the afternoon session included talks on the use of SD to study prosperity, sustainability, pandemic preparedness, and strategic options in the North Sea Oil industry. On the second day a hands on modeling session led by John Hayward focused on loop dominance analysis. There were also reflective talks and discussions on SD in education and careers in SD. Posters from students and professional SD practitioners were on display, and the day finished with several presentations from post-graduate students.

A summer network event was held at the University of Salford, hosted by the ThinkLab and organized by the UK Chapter’s student representative, Hisham Tariq. It was titled “Resilient Cities” and attended by over 20 people. The event provided an interdisciplinary opportunity to discuss the application of SD to the significant challenges facing our cities, an opportunity for networking, and introduced SD to students and members of the faculty at Salford.

A highly topical autumn SD economics network event, held at Kingston University, was titled: “System Dynamics Brexit challenge” and attended by over 20 chapter members. Talks were given on optimizing investment for a low-carbon future, secondary money systems for sustainable development, and emergent properties in a simple monetary model. The event finished with an open challenge to the System Dynamics community, delivered by Brian Dangerfield, to model the possible impacts of the UK’s planned exit from the European Union. The challenge is now on the UK chapter’s website.

The Policy Council is now making plans for next year’s conference, to be held in April 2018.

Submitted by Rachel Freeman on behalf of the Student Chapter. Back to Top

>> Asset Dynamics SIG

The Asset Dynamics SIG, which was founded at the end of 2016, was enthusiastically received during its meeting at the 2017 ISDC. About twenty persons participated. We had lively conversations and interactions. It really had the atmosphere of a community: different people with the same interest but looking at it from different perspectives and as such enriching the playfield of Asset Management and System Dynamics. Also, the participants really appreciated the items the SIG is working on such as a Knowledge Base (library) available to the SIG members to view, filter and add and a Reference Model which will be made available to the SIG members as a basis for discussion and enrichment.

SIG members highlighted some topics like ‘data as an asset’, ‘condition based maintenance as a service for asset producers’, and ‘maintenance in a production process’ which will be discussed for their relation with the Reference Model during the second webinar this year at the end of October.

If you are interested in this SIG and its activities please take a look at its page on the SDS website.

Submitted by Arjen Ros & Michel Kuijer on behalf of the Asset Dynamics SIG. Back to Top

>> Energy SIG

The Energy SIG held its annual meeting at the ISDC in Cambridge to update attendees (a good showing of around 20 individuals) of the present outlook of the group. Updates on the development of the Energy SIG, along with the achievements of the last year were presented at the meeting. Our plans for the upcoming year, including issues we are facing, were also discussed. This meeting was chaired by one of our outgoing co-representative, Merla Kubli, on behalf of the other two co-representatives.

We are happy to inform you about some existing and newly established features of our Energy SIG:

Mailing list: A mailing list separate to the SD Society main list now exists so that relevant information can be exchanged easily and quickly.

Who's who list of SD-energy researchers and practitioners: To help you find other SD-energy researchers or practitioners we circulated and got responses for an overview list (currently stands at 40 individuals to network with). This list has a tabulation of responses of names, affiliation, areas of interest and a links to current research group/company. This document can be found here.

Energy SIG web page: The Energy SIG web page was updated and is now available online. You can find some general information on the Energy SIG but also very handy resources such as a list of journals suitable for energy-SD publications.

Other tools considered: Some other SIG activities options are under exploration for the upcoming year.

With these tools we hope to support a close exchange among researchers and practitioners interested in the application of System Dynamics in the energy field. Feel free to share this with your colleagues enlarge our community!

George and Rhythima confirmed their willingness to continue as SIG co-representatives for the upcoming year and we would like to say a heartfelt thanks to Merla Kubli for her services to the Energy SIG over the past two years, including chairing our latest meeting all by herself.

If you have comments or ideas for further activities of the Energy SIG don’t hesitate to 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 and Rhythima Shinde on behalf of the Energy SIG. Back to Top

>> Psychology and Human Behavior SIG

David Lounsbury and Pascal Gambardella chaired the Psychology SIG’s annual meeting at the 35th International System Dynamics Conference, on July 19th in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the first meeting after the SIG was officially renamed to "Psychology and Human Behavior SIG.” A year earlier, in Delft, the SIG decided to create a “System Dynamics and History” working group, which held quarterly, online, meetings, to (1) explore using System Dynamics to teach history and humanities, and (2) to create System Dynamics models from historical examples of societal collapse. Our name change and the creation of the History group were made to reflect the broader scope and increasingly diverse membership of our SIG over the last two years and are consistent with the Society’s strategic goal of increasing the visibility of System Dynamics in other academic fields.

At the SIG meeting, we presented this group’s progress. Dana Polojärvi, (Maine Maritime Academy) discussed “Using System Dynamics to Teach History," especially in using it to model the case histories of collapse in Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005). John Hayward, (University of South Wales) discussed “Collapse and Geopolitics”, including his work in creating System Dynamics models from the cases in Peter Turchin’s book Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall (2003). Pascal Gambardella, (Emerging Perspectives, LLC) discussed the “Classical Maya Slow Collapse”, including his work in translating John Lowe’s model of the Maya collapse from Lowe’s book, The Dynamics if Apocalypse: A Systems Simulation of the Classic Maya Collapse. On July 9, Pascal Gambardella published an informal essay that included a description of this group’s activities and links to John’s models: "How I was Drawn into Modeling the Classic Maya Collapse" (to read the essay, click here). If you would like to learn more about this topic or would like to join the working group, please feel free to contact Pascal or David.

David and Pascal gave a workshop on “Modeling Psychological and Sociological Dynamics” at the conference in Cambridge to over 70 participants. Our presentation materials, associated simulation models, and our current bibliography of papers are available in conference proceedings. Again, please let us know about any paper or resource, as we will happily add it to the bibliography.

The System Dynamics Review just published the paper “A co-flow structure for goal-directed internal change,” by SIG members Pascal J. Gambardella (SIG co-chair), Deborah E. Polk, David Lounsbury (SIG co-chair), and Ralph Levine (SIG co-chair, emeritus) in its January/March 2017 issue, which is now available in the Wiley Online Library. The subject is relevant to the use of psychological and sociological variables in models. Pascal and David provided an example in the “Modeling Psychological and Sociological Dynamics” workshop (mentioned above): the effect of a laptop ban on attendance at a System Dynamics Society conference. They also included a working model of this example in both Stella and Vensim.

The Psychology SIG continues to work closely with the Health Policy SIG. Once again, David served as Co-Chair for the Health Policy Thread (along with Gary Hirsch), and as Co-Chair of the Lupina Young Researchers Award. This year, based on the recommendations of the Lupina Committee, the award was given to Dr. Özge Karanfil, who recently completed her PhD is System Dynamics here at MIT, for her paper entitled “A Dynamics Model for Understanding Long-Term Trends in Prostate Cancer Screening.” Özge’s paper adds a novel perspective to an on-going international debate on the utility of routine prostate cancer screening. David wishes to thank Peter Warrian of the Lupina Foundation for these continued support of System Dynamics students’ work and each of this year’s Lupina Award Committee members: Doug McKelvie, Gary Hirsch, Ralph Levine, and Pascal Gambardella.

Thanks to all members for their participation and support of the SIG. Please feel free to reach out to us with new suggestions or any feedback about our activities. We look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks and months.

Submitted by David Lounsbury and Pascal Gambardella on behalf of the Psychology and Human Behavior SIG. Back to Top

>> Transportation SIG

Following an initial interest meeting at the 2016 conference in Delft, a Transportation SIG was set up last November and already has an impressive 131 members. The SIG organized a well-attended special session at this year’s conference, presenting three excellent papers on the use of SD in transport studies (see Session 229, Tuesday 14:40). The group also had a meeting to discuss how to move the SIG forward. Among their plans for the next year are to hold a workshop where papers will be filtered for a special issue of a journal, and to target other conferences for special sessions, such as transport conferences and the OR Society conference.

The Transportation SIG has set up a LinkedIn group and Google group mailing list and encourage all Society members with an interest in transportation to join these discussions.

See their web page for more information and set-up details.

Members of the Transportation SIG at this year's conference

Submitted by Simon Shepherd on behalf of the Transportation SIG. Back to Top

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The System Dynamics Newsletter is published by the System Dynamics Society.
Editors: Babak Bahaddin, Carrie Stickan, LouAnne Lundgren, Michael Breslin, Roberta L. Spencer, and Robin Langer.