A model is a representation of a system. Models are a necessary part of scientific inquiry, and are used to capture knowledge about a system. They can be created, tested, and evaluated. These models can be used to architect and implement system solutions.
Some types of models are based on an idealized version of a real-world system. Idealized models are designed to simplify a complex system and make it more tractable.
Other types of models represent selected aspects of the world. Representational models can be idealized or exploratory. The two types of models can also be called editorial or print models. Editorial models are slimmer than print models, and tend to be more selective.
System models are often used to share information with stakeholders. Examples include models of climate, markets, and the financial industry. In addition to describing the system, these models can represent the system’s environment.
There are different types of models, and each one must address the purpose for which it was created. They can be idealized, exploratory, or minimal. Each type of model has its own unique characteristics.
When a student thinks of a model, he or she usually associates it with a physical object. However, many students today are less familiar with models beyond this limited definition.
Some students recognize that models can be used to test ideas. This concept is reinforced through everyday use of computer modeling and simulations. Computer game simulations, in particular, are a good example. In addition to describing the system, these models can represent the system’s environment.