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Qualitative Modeling of Complex Systems

An Introduction to Loop Analysis and Time Averaging

In this modern era of mathematical modeling, applications have become increasingly complicated. As the complexity grows, it becomes more and more difficult to draw meaningful conclusions about the behavior of theoretical models and their relations to reality. Alongside methods that emphasize quantitative properties and the testing of scientific details, there is a need for approaches that are more qualitative. These techniques attempt to cover whole families of models in one bold stroke, in a manner that allows robust conclusions to be drawn about them.

Loop analysis and time averaging provide a means of interpreting the properties of systems from the network of interactions within the system. The authors' methodology concentrates on graphical representation to guide experimental design, to identify sources of external variability from the statistical pattern of variables, and to make management decisions.

Although most of the examples are drawn from ecology, the methods are relevant to all of the pure and applied sciences. This relevance is enhanced by case studies from such diverse areas as physiology, resource management, the behavioral sciences, and social epidemiology. The book will be useful to a broad readership from the biological and social sciences as well as the physical sciences and technology. It will interest undergraduate and graduate students along with researchers active in these disciplines. Here the reader will find a strong rationale for maintaining a holistic approach, revealing what insights and advantages are retained by the broader perspective and, more explicitly, by the synergistic effects that cannot be discerned by reducing systems to their smallest parts.

Author Information

PucciaCharles J.:

author>Charles J. Puccia is in the Department of Population Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health.LevinsRichard:

Richard Levins is John Rock Professor of Population Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health.

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Edition: Reprint 2014
Audience: Professional and scholarly;

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