Numerus Model Builder, AKA Nova 3

Over the course of my winter term project, I had two goals. The first was to create a dynamic model of pain and functionality within the Numerus interface, and the second was to evaluate Numerus as a software interface, in accordance with my own research interests in interface design and human computer interaction. I had the pleasure of utilizing both NOVA 2 and Numerus on both PC and Mac systems, and from my time using them, I have several observations.

First is the solid tutorials provided by the team who created NOVA. While dynamic systems modeling isn’t exactly what I would call an easy subject, the tutorials provided by Andy Lyons on the website provided me with a solid foundation from which to approach the software. While Numerus differs from NOVA 2 in multiple features, Lyons’ tutorials allowed a much easier transition than going in blind.

While NOVA 2 is a solid environment in which to build dynamic models, I found Numerus to be a much more comfortable and pleasant environment to build inside. Many features of NOVA 2 have been integrated into their relevant components, such as the options to make any term an in or out pin and the ability to make an integrated stock and flow object. These workflow enhancements allowed me to build a model that was both functional and easy to operate, a critical element for this model in particular as it will be tested in the future by non statisticians.

I also was fortunate enough to have the chance to document bugs in Numerus, which was my first foray into the proper method of logging bugs in a piece of software. There are a few elements in Numerus that could use proper documentation, as they differ significantly from NOVA 2, as well as a few minor glitches in editing functions. Overall, Numerus has shown me that a modeling environment can be full featured and comfortable to use, and I look forward to building more models in it in the coming years.


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