PAD 624 - Simulating Dynamic Systems

Instructor Eliot Rich George Richardson
Office BA 310A Milne 318
Phones Office: 442-4944
Mobile: 229-3515
Mobile: 364-6334
Home: 475-1417
Office hours

Mondays, 4:00-5:00
Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00

Tuesdays, 10:00-12:00
Wednesdays, 10:00-12:00
E-mail erich2@albany.edu gprichardson@albany.edu
Web site www.albany.edu/er945 www.albany.edu/~gpr

Purpose: Simulating Dynamic Systems is designed to develop skills in the creation and use of computer simulation models for policy analysis.

The course is intended both for people who wish to be able to understand policy studies done by others employing computer simulation, and for people who wish themselves to become skilled simulation modelers. It provides the conceptual and technical knowledge necessary to conceptualize dynamic policy problems, formulate appropriate simulation models, and use models for policy analysis.

A principle focus of the course is the significance of information feedback and circular causality in the behavior of social systems.

Texts and readings:

[Required] Sterman, Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World (Irwin Mcgraw-Hill, 2000)

[Recommended] Richardson, Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991; reprinted by Pegasus Communications, www.PegasusCom.com)

Assignments and grading:

Final grades will be based on the ten written assignments and contributions in class. I encourage you to work together in pairs outside of class. The specific weights will be 5% each for Assignments 1, 2, and 3, 10% each for Assignments 4 through 8, and 15% each for Assignments 9 and 10. The last assignment (Conceptualization) is not graded. Class contributions account for 5%.


Classes will build on written assignments, so it is essential that assignments are handed in when due. Late work is unacceptable except in extreme circumstances.


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