[FRIAM] Simulation and policy-making

Phil Henshaw sy at synapse9.com
Wed Aug 9 23:47:36 EDT 2006

Cool!   Now there's a meaningful global modeling task, an event map with
a basically simple dynamic model, that involves mixing a core of
advanced eco-system dynamics with a limited cross section of
interdisciplinary autonomous agents.   It's a very demanding but
conceptually realistic task that can be kept to what's working.    
Not to be discounted is the nearly ideal information output intended.
The product of that effort would be used to feed a sophisticated global
public health system with better images and contingency plans for what
they might run into, widely disseminating the learning and generating
volumes of quality guiding feedback.    That kind of purpose is set up
for greatly advancing our ability to live on earth.
Those who want to use the tools of systems inquiry for secretly
generating new kinds of weapons for central authorities to interfere
with what interests them, won't actually learn much and will cause great

Phil Henshaw                       ¸¸¸¸.·´ ¯ `·.¸¸¸¸
680 Ft. Washington Ave 
NY NY 10040                       
tel: 212-795-4844                 
e-mail: pfh at synapse9.com          
explorations: www.synapse9.com <http://www.synapse9.com/>     

-----Original Message-----
From: friam-bounces at redfish.com [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On
Behalf Of Douglas Roberts
Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 9:40 PM
To: The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group
Subject: Re: [FRIAM] Simulation and policy-making

Re: simulation and policy-making, a project that my group is working on
at the request of the current Washington administration is helping to do
just that.  At the request of a consortium of representatives from the
White House, Dept of Treasury, DHS, Dept. of State, and a few other
cabinet-level political types, we have run numerous simulation
experimental designs to establish the bounds of the effectiveness of
various intervention strategies for containing an H5N1 pandemic, should
it occur in the US.  We are using three simulation codes: EpiSims,
Epicast, and one from the Imperial College in the UK. The name of the
project is "Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study" (MIDAS), and it is
funded by NIH.  See 

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/press/releases/press02202006.html and

or do a google search on "MIDAS bird flu policy" for more info.


On 8/8/06, Robert Holmes <robert at holmesacosta.com> wrote: 

Oh I thank RAND are probably plenty ambitious in what they simulate for
the US govt. Just check out their research areas:


On 8/8/06, mgd at santafe.edu < mgd at santafe.edu <mailto:mgd at santafe.edu> >

Quoting Robert Holmes <robert at holmesacosta.com>:

> So if 'valid' simulations are being used to give the 'wrong' answers,
> does that tell us about simulation? Is there ever any hope of
> (I'll give away the answer to that: no) or do all social simulations -
> political or economic - inevitably reflect the prejudices of their
author or
> funder?

Validated simulations, by definition, reproduce something that the
authors (or 
funders) deem relevant as a performance metric.  But that's not a
problem with
models or simulations, assuming the metrics are documented.  If the
authors or
funders are prone to choosing easy, low dimensional things to fit, they
need to be more ambitious.

FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv
Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College
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FRIAM Applied Complexity Group listserv
Meets Fridays 9a-11:30 at cafe at St. John's College
lectures, archives, unsubscribe, maps at http://www.friam.org

Doug Roberts, RTI International
droberts at rti.org
doug at parrot-farm.net
505-455-7333 - Office
505-670-8195 - Cell 

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