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Integrated modeling

Name
Alexey
Surname
Voinov
Scientific organization
University of Twente, ITC
Academic degree
PhD
Position
Professor
Scientific discipline
Earth Sciences, Ecology & Environmental Management
Topic
Integrated modeling
Abstract
Systems analysis and spatio-temporal modeling have been long recognized as powerful tools for decision support. However, the modeling results may go contrary to our preferences, biases and priorities making it difficult to act based on models.  Integrated modeling has been successfully bringing together knowledge from various disciplines and making use of legacy models and code that have been previously produced. We see a lot of potential in taking model integration beyond software coupling, and in addition to computer models consider mental models developed by stakeholders.
Keywords
Integrated modeling, participatory modeling, stakeholders, mental models, biases, interfaces
Summary

Systems analysis and spatio-temporal modeling have been long recognized as powerful tools for decision support. One of the biggest challenges is the need to synchronize our understanding of systems gained from models with human perceptions, beliefs, values and preconceived notions about the system. The modeling results may go contrary to our preferences and priorities. We find it then difficult to act based on the models and the logic of the system 2 type of thinking involved, when it clashes with the intuitive system 1 thinking.  Integrated modeling has been successfully developing as a way to bring together knowledge from various disciplines and to use legacy models and code that have been previously produced. We see a lot of potential in taking model integration beyond the software coupling, and in addition to computer models consider mental models developed by stakeholders. Model integration should then deal with coupling of all sorts of models, including software components and conceptual models produced by stakeholders. Engaging stakeholders in the modeling process in a participatory process can help resolve some of these contradictions, though in many cases it is still difficult to organize and conduct the process properly.  New technologies inspired by social media and wide access to the Internet deliver opportunities for broad democratic engagement of the public in science and decision making. However the process is easily compromised by increasing uncertainties associated with information production and  sharing, group thinking, and clustering along cultural, educational or party lines.