Modelling as a science and culture based on a systematic framework, on principles, on theories, and on guidelines

Systematic modelling should be based on frameworks and sophisticated and validated guideline.
It can be based on our notion of the model.
The model of a model as a generalisation of models used in various scientific disciplines:
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').

The art of modelling
Modelling can be understood as a technique or as a technology. The Encyclopedia Britannica distinguishes between science and technology: Technology is the systematic study of techniques for making and doing things; science is the systematic attempt to understand and interpret the world. Technology is an element of engineering. It consists of the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area. While technology is concerned with the fabrication and use of artifacts, science is devoted to the more conceptual enterprise of understanding the environment, and it depends upon the comparatively sophisticated skills of literacy and numeracy.
At the same time, modelling is an art. Modelling is a highly creative process. It requires skills in planning, making, or executing. It is often claimed that it is not to be formalisable. It requires deep insight into the background as well as skills, careful simplification, experience and ingenuity. Due to the variety of viewpoints, modelling is also based on judgement and clever selection with different alternatives. Art requires capability, competence, handiness, and proficiency. Art is based on finesse, i.e. on refinement or delicacy of workmanship.

The engineering of modelling
Modelling can be understood as an engineering activity with engineering steps and engineering results. It is oriented towards encapsulation of experiences with design problems pared down to a manageable scale. Engineering is, however, also inherently concerned with failures of construction, with incompleteness both in specification and in coverage of the application domain, with compromises for all quality dimensions, and with problems of technologies currently at hand. Modelling as an art or technology inherits most principles of engineering. Technology is based on techniques such as refinement, modularisation, inheritance, generalisation and specialisation, incremental construction, evaluation, quality control, appropriate documentation, integration and migration.
A technology of modelling can be based on frameworks that support systematic development and deployment of models, thoughtful redevelopment and evolution for models, well-founded evaluation and justification of a model within a context and for a community of practice.

The science of modelling
A science of modelling is any system of knowledge that is concerned with models and modelling activities and that entails unbiased techniques and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.
It is based on principles, on systematics and on foundations of models and their deployment. We envision a theories such as theories of analogy and adequacy, theories of corroboration, theories of coherence, theories of validation and falsification, theories of quality assessment and control, and theories of model derivatives. A theory is any systematic and coherent collection of ideas that relate to a specific subject such as a discipline of modelling.

The culture of modelling
Culture can be considered as a 'collective programming' of a community of practice. It is supported by pragmatic and collaboration maxims, by habits and commonsense within a collective of thought, by paradigms and postulates agreed upon in this collective, by assumptions commonly considered to be acceptable, by values and visions, and by principles inherited from the disciplines. Culture is moreover based on principles such as conceptualisation, appropriate completeness, correspondence and invariance, downward dependency, upward notification, association
Culture of modelling incorporates also invariance of purpose, construction or architecture properties for models (e.g. monotonicity, incrementality, finiteness, application consistency, and conservativeness), approaches for handling implicitly assumed properties, and a variety of principles (abstraction, grouping, separation of concern and integration of concerns, co-evolution and co-existence).


Further references:




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