By Steven Lade
What do you think about mathematical modelling of ‘wicked’ or complex problems? Formal modelling, such as mathematical modelling or computational modelling, is sometimes seen as reductionist, prescriptive and misleading. Whether it actually is depends on why and how modelling is used.
Here I explore four main reasons for modelling, drawing on the work of Brugnach et al. (2008):
I start with mental models – the informal representations of the world that we all use as we go about both our personal and professional lives – and then move on to formal models.