The Methods for Modelling


A model of a model

A model is a well-formed, adequate and dependable instrument that represents other origins within some context based on criteria of adequacy and dependability commonly accepted by its community of practice. A model has - as an instrument - its background with a undisputable grounding of the sub-discipline and with a basis consisting of chosen elements from the sub-discipline. A model is functioning if it is combined with utilisation/deployment methods. A functioning model is effective if it can be successfully deployed according to its deployment scenarios and its portfolio. They thus function in the application scenario ('deployment games').


Differences between 'Model', 'To Model', and 'Modelling'
The conceptions of model, of the activity `to model' and of modelling are often used as synonyms. We must however distinguish these conceptions for a theory of models, a theory of model activities and a theory of the modelling process. Based on the notions in the Encyclopedia Britannica, we distinguish between the conception of a model, the conception of a model activity, and the conception of modelling processes:
The model as an instrument: The model is something set or held for guidance or imitation of an origin and is a product at the same time. Models are enduring, justified and adequate instruments from one side. From the other side, models represent the state of comprehension or knowledge of a user.
To model as an activity: 'To model' is a scientific or engineering activity beside theoretical or experimental investigation. The activity is an additive process. Corrections are possible during this activity. Modelled work may be used for construction of systems, for exploration of a system, for definition and negotiation, for communication, for understanding and for problem solving.
Modelling as a systematically performed technological process: Modelling is a technique of systematically using knowledge from %various branches of computer science and engineering to introduce technological innovations into the planning and development stages of a system.

Additionally, the notion of model may be used in an adjective sense as serving as or capable of serving as a pattern or being a usually miniature representation of something. This notion is often used for sample representations such as a 'model chair'.

This page represents our insights into modelling as an activity. We distinguish between:


Development methods:
The development of models is a process similar to production of an instrument or tool.
For instance, the construction process within a development scenario consists of a relevance stage, a modelling stage, and a realisation stage. The relevance and modelling stages are concerned with a description of artefacts or origins by a model. The modelling and realisation stage are concerned with a prescription for a new instrument or target by the model. These stages are supported by methods for understanding the origin, for elicitation of properties of the origins, for description by a model, for reasoning on properties of the model, for requiring properties to be realised in the target, for construction of the target, and for assessment of the properties of the origins, of the model and of the target.
The act of modelling consists of
  1. a selection and construction of an appropriate model depending on the task and purpose and depending on the properties we are targeting and the con- text of the intended system and thus of the language appropriate for the system,
  2. a workmanship on the model for detection of additional information about the original and of improved model,
  3. an analogy conclusion or other derivations on the model and its relationship to the real world, and
  4. a preparation of the model for its use in systems, to future evolution and to change.
The act of 'to model' is based on an activity that is characterised by the work products, the aspects under consideration (scope), the resources used in an activity, and the partners involved into the activity. Additionally we might extend this characterisation by activity goals and intentions (for what), time span (when), and restrictions (normal, exception and forbidden cases) or obligations for later activities. We may distinguish a number of activities and acts, e.g., understand, conceptualise, abstract, define, construct, refine, document and evaluate. Model activities should be governed by good practices which can be partially derived from modelling as an apprenticeship or technology.
Main modelling acts which are the following ones:
Utilisation methods:
Methods for deployment are based on follow the portfolio, scenario and driven by the purpose of the community of practice within a context model deployment based on activities
  • adaption, concept enrichment, optimisation, specialisation, instantiation, refinement, grinding %einschleifen
  • applicability studies (evaluation, assurance, composition for application)
  • integration, selection
  • problem solution, classification, practice, understanding, theory or paradigm (r)evolution
  • explanation \put(10.5,8){\makebox(0,0)[t]{\shortstack{Use\_for\_solving/ \\[-.375ex] plan/construct/ \\[-.375ex] skilled\_application}}} \put(10.5,7){\makebox(0,0)[t]{\shortstack{Prognose/simulate/ \\[-.375ex] estimate/ \\[-.375ex] forecast/appreciate/ \\[-.375ex] treasure}}} \put(10.5,5.9){\makebox(0,0)[t]{\shortstack{Reason/ \\[-.375ex] understand/apprehend/ \\[-.375ex] explore/conceive/ \\[-.375ex] conclude/know }}} \put(10.5,4.8){\makebox(0,0)[t]{\shortstack{Explain/ \\[-.375ex] check/appraise/ \\[-.375ex] experience}}} \put(10.5,3.95){\makebox(0,0)[t]{\shortstack{Integrate/ \\[-.375ex] harmonise/ \\[-.375ex] faithful\_utilisation}}} \put(10.5,3){\makebox(0,0)[t]{\shortstack{Explore/interprete/ \\[-.375ex] clarify/rationalise/ \\[-.375ex] comprehend/clear\_up}}} }

    The methods spectrum of a scientific discipline:


    The functioning of a model:
    Functional models are models that are combined with utilisation or deployment methods in dependence on the end/purpose/function of the given model.


    Concepts used for the novel notion of the model
    The model of the model : A model is a well-formed, adequate and dependable instrument that represents other origins within some context based on criteria of adequacy and dependability commonly accepted by its community of practice. A model has - as an instrument - its background with a undisputable grounding of the sub-discipline and with a basis consisting of chosen elements from the sub-discipline. A model is functioning if it is combined with utilisation/deployment methods. A functioning model is effective if it can be successfully deployed according to its deployment scenarios and its portfolio. They thus function in the application scenario ('deployment games').



    Some recent papers by B. Thalheim on models and modelling


    Return to the model page, to the home page of B. Thalheim, to the pages on teaching or on projects.