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Computer simulation : the art and science of digital world construction

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Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering, University of Florida

Abstract

paper.dvi Computer Simulation� The Art and Science of Digital World Construction � Paul A� Fishwick Computer � Information Science and Engineering Department University of Florida� CSE ��� Gainesville� FL �� ��� USA E mail� �shwick�cis�u��edu September ��� ��� WHAT IS SIMULATION� Computer simulation is the discipline of designing a model of an actual or theoretical physical system� executing the model on a digital computer� and analyzing the execution output� Simulation embodies the principle of �learning by doing� � to learn about the system we must �rst build a model of some sort and then operate the model� The use of simulation is an activity that is as natural as a child who role plays� Children understand the world around them by simulating �with toys and �gurines� most of their interactions with other people� animals and objects� As adults� we lose some of this childlike behavior but recapture it later on through computer simulation� To understand reality and all of its complexity� we must build arti�cial objects and dynamically act out roles with them� Computer simulation is the electronic equivalent of this type of role playing and it serves to drive synthetic environments and virtual worlds� Within the overall task of simulation� there are three primary sub �elds� model design� model execution and model analysis �see Fig� ��� The chapter annotations in Fig� � relate to the author�s recent simulation textbook �see the section READ MORE ABOUT IT� which focuses on the �rst two sub �elds� To simulate something physical� you will �rst need to create a mathematical model which represents that physical object� Models can take many forms including declarative� functional� constraint� spatial or multimodel� A multimodel is a model containing multiple integrated models each of which represents a level of granularity for the physical system� The next task� once a model has been developed� is to execute the model on a computer � that is� you n

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