Construction by Replacement: A New Approach to Simulation Modeling

System Dynamics Review 27(1): 64-90, 2011

MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4725-09

32 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2009 Last revised: 8 Aug 2013

See all articles by Thomas W. Malone

Thomas W. Malone

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Paulo Gonçalves

Institute of Management, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, Lugano); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management - Operations Management and System Dynamics

James Hines

Ventana Systems

George Herman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

John Quimby

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Biology

James B. Rice

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Transportation and Logistics

Mary Murphy-Hoye

Intel Corporation

James Patten

Patten Studio

Hiroshi Ishi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Media Laboratory

Date Written: March 4, 2009

Abstract

Simulation modeling can be valuable in many areas of management science, but is often costly, time-consuming and difficult to do. This paper describes a new approach to simulation that has the potential to be much cheaper, faster and easier to use in many situations. In this approach, users start with a very simple generic model and then progressively replace parts of the model with more specialized "molecules" from a systematically organized library of predefined components. At each point, the system lets the user select from lists of possible substitutions, and then either automatically creates a new running model or shows the user where further manual changes are needed.

The paper describes an extensive experiment with using this approach to construct system dynamics models of supply chain processes in a large manufacturing company. The experiment included developing a comprehensive catalog of system dynamics molecules analogous to the periodic table in chemistry. The experiment also included developing an innovative "tangible user interface" with which users can create simulation models by moving actual physical objects around on a special table called a Sensetable. The paper concludes with a discussion of the benefits and limitations of this approach and how it could be used in other situations.

Keywords: Simulation Modeling, Replacement, Specialization Hierarchy, Molecules, Tangible User Interface

Suggested Citation

Malone, Thomas W. and Gonçalves, Paulo and Hines, James and Herman, George and Quimby, John and Rice, James B. and Murphy-Hoye, Mary and Patten, James and Ishi, Hiroshi, Construction by Replacement: A New Approach to Simulation Modeling (March 4, 2009). System Dynamics Review 27(1): 64-90, 2011; MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4725-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1354665 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1354665

Thomas W. Malone (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-333
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6843 (Phone)
617-253-6843 (Fax)

Paulo Gonçalves

Institute of Management, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, Lugano) ( email )

Via Giuseppe Buffi, 13
Lugano, CH-6904
Switzerland
+41 (0)58 666 44 79 (Phone)
+41 (0)58 666 46 47 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/~paulopg/www/

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management - Operations Management and System Dynamics ( email )

30 Wadsworth St. E53-339
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/~paulopg/www/

James Hines

Ventana Systems ( email )

60 Jacob Gates Road
Harvard, MA 01451
United States

George Herman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

John Quimby

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Biology ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

James B. Rice

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Transportation and Logistics ( email )

1 Amherst St.
E40-281
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-258-8584 (Phone)

Mary Murphy-Hoye

Intel Corporation ( email )

United States

James Patten

Patten Studio ( email )

33 Flatbush Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11232
United States

Hiroshi Ishi

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Media Laboratory ( email )

20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
354
rank
82,323
Abstract Views
6,475
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations while be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information