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System thinking and modelling of complex dynamic systems (FMF3035)

The course provides an introduction to system thinking and modelling of complex, dynamic sociotechnical systems by using the modelling framework system dynamics.

Quick information

Title: System thinking and modelling of complex dynamic systems
Code: FMF3035
Credits: 6.0
Level/cycle: 3
Course responsible:  Anna Pernestål

Intended learning outcomes

The course gives the students an introduction to systems thinking and modelling of complex dynamic sociotechnical systems by using the methodology System Dynamics. After the course, the student should be able to:

1. Describe central terms and concepts within system thinking

2. Use these concepts to describe events, phenomena, and structures from the real world,

3. Understand and explain basic system archetypes, including which system behavior that these causes.

4. Describe and analyze systems from a sustainability perspective.

5. Understand how System Dynamics can be used to model information flows and mental models, and to evaluate policies.

6. Build, validate and analyze System Dynamics models by using Vensim (or another similar software)

7. Formulate complex dynamic problems, and analyze them by using System Dynamics

8. Argue for the results validity

9. Use system thinking and System Dynamics modelling to communicate results to stakeholders and actors

Course contents

The course includes literature studies, lectures, seminars (discussions), hand-in exercises, a project work, and presentation. During the course, the students will continuously give feedback on each other’s work. Course literature comprises standard literature within the field as well as recent research articles.

Areas covered:

  • Formulation of dynamic problems
  • Fundamental concepts within system thinking and system design (e.g. causality, Little’s Law, feedback)
  • Causal Loop Diagrams
  • Mental models
  • System structures and system archetypes
  • Naming convention and ”good practice” with modelling with system dynamics.
  • The modelling process
  • Validation of system dynamics modell
  • Communication using system dynamics models Specific prerequisites Admitted to PhD studies in a relevant field.

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