Algorithmic control modules for system dynamics models


  • E. F. Wolstenholme

    1. University of Bradford Management Centre, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD9 4JL, United Kingdom.
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    • graduated in engineering from Nottingham University in 1968 and in operational research from Brunel University in 1970. He spent eight years in the U.K. coal industry as an operations research scientist and as a purchasing manager before joining the staff of Bradford University Management Centre as a lecturer in management science with research and consultancy interests in the area of system dynamics. He is active on a number of committees of the System Dynamics Society as well as being Executive Editor of the System Dynomics Review.


This paper describes a framework for policy analysis and design in soft, complex systems based on the transfer to such systems of control modules developed for harder (more easily quantified), simpler systems. The framework is demonstrated by outlining the development of a dynamic allocation algorithm within a system dynamics model of an engineering system and describing its application in a much larger scale management system. The potential use of this algorithm is demonstrated in two other systems, and a generalized form is presented that highlights its isomorphic qualities. It is suggested that this framework, which treats the physical and control structure of a system as a unified whole, can provide a useful contribution to policy analysis.