This project challenged me on multiple levels. My skillsets as a psychologist, statistician, computer scientist, and interface designer were all pressed into service with the goal of creating the best model I could for use in the upcoming lab.
This model presented unique challenges at several levels that I had to overcome in order to make progress. First, the new interface presented challenges as I had to relearn the basic steps in combing elements to form a model, since the methods by which components are connected and compiled are different between Numerus and NOVA 2.
At multiple points throughout the construction of the model, I encountered difficulties in translating what I wanted the model to display with the equations necessary to make the model behave in the proper way. In order to translate rules into equations, I made several pages of notes in my notebook where I would test equations with constants. The model was constructed with several different iterations as I added each individual feature, which allowed for faster diagnosis of potential problems and debugging.
With the model functioning within the defined parameters, it is almost ready to be deployed for its purpose: to educate students and eventually the general populace in systems thinking. The next phase of the future work with the model will involve using NOVA online, Numerus’ ability to turn models into websites that anyone can use, in order to conduct empirical studies to determine the validity of the assumptions underlying the model.
I would like to thank Professor Nancy Darling for advising me on this winter term project and providing materials to further my knowledge of dynamic systems modeling. I would also like to thank Rich Salter for developing both NOVA 2 and Numerus, allowing me access to Numerus to complete the project. I would like to thank Andy Lyons for creating the NOVA 2 tutorials that gave me my foundation in dynamic systems modeling theory. Last, I would like to thank OMNI, the Oberlin Modeling Initiative, for their work in helping the world see the power of statistical modeling now and in the future.