Models and Reality: Some Reflections on the Art and Science of Simulation

  • George A. Bekey


This paper presents a philosophical overview of simulation, with an emphasis on the nature of the relation between models and the systems they represent. Model-making is shown to be an essential feature of human thinking. The “abstraction ladder,” which leads from observations of reality to mathematical models, is reviewed from a semantic viewpoint. The problem of validation of the results of a simulation is then outlined. The paper concludes with same philosophical observations on the relation of model and reality.


Deductive Approach General Mathematical Model Artificial Fruit Semantic Symbol Diaper Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    M. Rubinstein. Patterns of Problem Solving. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    C. Shannon and W. Weaver. The Mathematical Theory of Communications. University of Illinois Press, 1949Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    S. Golomb. “Mathematical Models — Uses and Limitations”. Aeronautics and Astronautics, 57–59, January 1968, Reprinted in Simulation, 197–198, April 1970.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    B.L. Whorf. Language, Thought and Reality. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1956, Wiley New York.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    S.I. Hayakawa. Language in Action. Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York, 1949.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    R.G.H. Siu. The Toa of Science: An Essay on Western Knowledge and eastern Wisdom. MIT press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1957, Wiley New York.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    A.K. Coomaraswamy. Hinduism and Buddhism. Philosophical Library, New York, 1956.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    J.C. Lilly. Simulations of God. Simon and Shuster, New York, 1975.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    T.M. Grove and G.A. Bekey. “Sensitivity Problems in the Identification of Biological System Parameters”. Proc. Symposium on Applications of Computer Methods in Engineerin, 625–634, 1977.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • George A. Bekey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations