Kieler Approach for Science and Art of Modeling


Models are one of the main instruments in scientific research. Disciplines have developed a different model understanding of the notion, function and purpose. We thus need a systematic approach in order to understand, to build and to use a model. This book gives an insight into the discipline modeling know-how in Kiel and is a first starting point to develop a general model approach that generalizes and combines for an inter disciplinary use.

  • Workshop history: 2007 2010 2012
comments and remarks are welcome. Please contact us under the address: MMM @ is . informatik . uni-kiel . de

The Notion of a Model

Definition: A model is a well-formed, adequate, and dependable instrument that represents origins. Its criteria of well-formedness, adequacy, and dependability must be commonly accepted by its community of practice within some context and correspond to the functions that a model fulfills in utilization scenarios and use spectra. As an instrument, a model is grounded in its communities sub-discipline and is based on elements chosen from the sub-discipline.

The Conception of the Model

Science and technology widely uses models in a variety of in utilization scenarios. Models function as an instrument in some utilization scenarios and a use spectrum. Their function in these scenarios is a combination of functions such as explanation, optimization-variation, validation-verification-testing, reflection-optimization, exploration, hypothetical investigation, documentation-visualization, and description-prescription as a mediator between a reality and an abstract reality that developers of a system intend to build. The model functions determine the purposes of the deployment of the model.

Models have several essential properties that qualify an instrument as a model [Tha12, Tha14]:

  • An instrument is well-formed if it satisfies a well-formedness criterion.
  • A well-formed instrument is adequate for a collection of origins if (i) it is analogous to the origins to be represented according to some analogy criterion, (ii) it is more focused (e.g. simpler, truncated, more abstract or reduced) than the origins being modeled, and (iii) it sufficient to satisfy its purpose.
  • Well-formedness enables an instrument to be justified: (i) by an empirical corroboration according to its objectives, supported by some argument calculus, (ii) by rational coherence and conformity explicitly stated through formulas, (iii) by falsifiability that can be given by an deductive or inductive logic, and (iv) by stability and plasticity explicitly given through formulas.
  • The instrument is sufficient by a quality characterization for internal quality, external quality and quality in use or through quality characteristics [Tha10] such as correctness, generality, usefulness, comprehensibility, parsimony, robustness, novelty etc. Sufficiency is typically combined with some assurance evaluation (tolerance, modality, confidence, and restrictions).
  • A well-formed instrument is called dependable if it is sufficient and is justified for some of the justification properties and some of the sufficiency characteristics.
  • An instrument is called model if it is adequate and dependable. The adequacy and dependability of an instrument is based on a judgment made by the community of practice.
  • An instrument has a background consisting of an indisputable grounding from one side (paradigms, postulates, restrictions, theories, culture, foundations, conventions, authorities) and of a disputable and adjustable basis from other side (assumptions, concepts, practices, language as carrier, thought community and thought style, methodology, pattern, routines, commonsense).
  • A model is used in a context such as discipline, a time, an infrastructure, and an application.

Not only should a model faithfully represent a collection of origins by being well-formed, adequate, and dependable, it should also provide facilities or methods for its use. A model is functional if there are methods for utilization of the instrument to achieve the objectives for which an instrument might serve. Typical task objectives include defining, constructing, exploring, communicating, understanding, replacing, substituting, documenting, negotiating, replacing, optimizing, validating, verifying, testing, reporting, and accounting. We call a model effective if it can be deployed according to its objectives.

Properties of Models

Models satisfy several properties that make them functional and effective [Mah08, Mah15, Sta73, Tha10, Tha11, Tha12, Tha14]:

(1) Mapping property: the model has an origin and can be based on a mapping from the origin to the instrument.

(1*) Analogy property: the model is analogous to the origins based on some analogy criterion.

(2) Truncation (reduction) property: the model lacks some of the ascriptions made to the origin and thus functions as an Aristotelian model by abstraction by disregarding the irrelevant.

(3) Pragmatic property: the model use is only justified for particular model users, the tools of investigation, and the period of time.

(4) Amplification property: models use specific extensions which are not observed in the original.

(5) Idealization property: modeling abstracts from reality by scoping the model to the ideal state of affairs

(6) Carrier (cargo) property: models reflect a conception on origins based on the capacity of a language and are filled with anticipation. They carry a cargo[Mah08].

(6*) Utilization property: the model functions well within its intended scenarios of usage according to its capacity and potential.

(7) Divergence property: models (e.g. Galilean models) are developed for improving divergence, deviation, discrepancy the physical world or for inclusion of visions of better reality, e.g. for construction via transformation.

(8) Added value property: models provide a value or benefit based on their utility, capability and quality characteristics.

(9) Purpose property: models are governed by the purpose. The model preserves the purpose.


[Mah08] B. Mahr. Cargo. Zum Verhältnis von Bild und Modell. In I. Reichle, S. Siegel, and A. Spelten, editors, Die Wirklichkeit visueller Modelle, pages 17-40. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München, 2008.

[Mah15] B. Mahr. Modelle und ihre Befragbarkeit - Grundlagen einer allgemeinen Modelltheorie. Erwägen-Wissen-Ethik, forthcoming, 2015. [Sta73] H. Stachowiak. Allgemeine Modelltheorie. Springer, 1973.

[Tha10] B. Thalheim. Towards a theory of conceptual modelling. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 16(20):3102-3137, 2010.

[Tha11] B. Thalheim. The theory of conceptual models, the theory of conceptual modelling and foundations of conceptual modelling. In The Handbook of Conceptual Modeling: Its Usage and Its Challenges, chapter 17, pages 547-580. Springer, Berlin, 2011.

[Tha12] B. Thalheim. The science and art of conceptual modelling. In A. Hameurlain et al., editor, TLDKS VI, number 7600 in LNCS, pages 76-105. Springer, Heidelberg, 2012.

[Tha14] B. Thalheim. The conceptual model = an adequate and dependable artifact enhanced by concepts. In Information Modelling and Knowledge Bases, volume XXV of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, 260, pages 241-254. IOS Press, 2014.

Modelling group

H. Allert, R. Berghammer, C. Blättler, T. Burkard, S. Börm, J.-P. Brückner, W. Deppert, W.J. Duschl, A. Eickmeier, H.W. Ernst, N. Fohrer, C.-C. Glüer, B. Heber, C. Henning, M. Hinz, P.A. Höher, R. Horn, K. Jansen, H.-C. Jongebloed, H. Kage, L. Käppel, G. Kiesmüller, A. Kopp, B. Kralemann, H. Krause, J. Krieter, M .Latif, C. Lattmann, T. Lux, R. Mayerle, T. Meier, K. Möller, F. Müller, J. Müller, U. Müller, O. Nakoinz, D. Nowotka, I. Nissen, A. Oschlies, W. Rosenkranz, P. Rosenstiel, D. Schädler, J. Schäfer, G. Schmidt, B. Schneider, T. Slawig, A. Speck, I. Traulsen, R. v. Hanxleden, S. Waldhausen, N. Weiler, J. Wellendorf, O. Wolkenhauer and ... and ...

Kieler Modell house

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