Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wanderers 2006.7.25

Patrick Barton is sharing Powersim, modeling software in the lineage of Jay Forrester (ala Urban Dynamics, Club of Rome, The Fifth Discipline etc.). Simulation software lets modelers assemble complex systems from simple components: stocks, flows, linkages.

This event is well attended, by physicists, a banker (semi-retired), mathematicians (including Davids Feinstein and Tver). Terry is manning the camera. I'm in the side office, close to an A/C vent.

Tara uses powerful simulation software too, sometimes hours a day, but for fun not for pay. I'm thinking of Sims 2, Civilization IV, other such games over the years (SimCity, SimAnt...).

Back at OSR
, I impressed my social studies teacher Fred Craden (great guy) by doing my independent study on global modeling, including many citations to the Club of Rome studies, which back then (1971-72) had made the cover of The Futurist magazine (my dad a subscriber).

On screen right now: a model of a local dam system, relating to water levels, snow pack, flow rates. Engineers use dynamical models to load balance around electrical demand. Getting Portlanders to back off on the A/C frees more power for Californians, generating income for our state.

I've been thinking about Patricia lately, a motorcycle-riding field engineer for Bonneville Power for years and years. Diane also works for BPA, in a more back office capacity. Both are local Quakers.

Powersim turns out to be quite handy for modelers, with lots of interface widgets of the kind one might study under the heading of wxPython.

Patrick has been working with Glenn and I on this Global Matrix Project, featuring these hexapents I've been writing about (and depicting) of late.