About Simulation Center

A computer simulation, a computer model, or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system. Computer simulations have become a useful part of mathematical modeling of many natural systems in physics (computational physics), astrophysics, chemistry and biology, human systems in economics, psychology, and social science and in the process of engineering new technology, to gain insight into the operation of those.

Computer simulations vary from computer programs that run a few minutes, to network-based groups of computers running for hours, to ongoing simulations that run for days. The scale of events being simulated by computer simulations has far exceeded anything possible (or perhaps even imaginable) using the traditional paper-and-pencil mathematical modeling: over 10 years ago, a desert-battle simulation, of one force invading another, involved the modeling of 66,239 tanks, trucks and other vehicles on simulated terrain around Kuwait, using multiple supercomputers in the DoD High Performance Computer Modernization Program; a 1-billion-atom model of material deformation (2002); a 2.64-million-atom model of the complex maker of protein in all organisms, a ribosome, in 2005; and the Blue Brain project at EPFL (Switzerland), began in May 2005, to create the first computer simulation of the entire human brain, right down to the molecular level.

Simulation vs. modeling

Traditionally, forming large models of systems has been via a mathematical model, which attempts to find analytical solutions to problems and thereby enable the prediction of the behavior of the system from a set of parameters and initial conditions.

While computer simulations might use some algorithms from purely mathematical models, computers can combine simulations with reality or actual events, such as generating input responses, to simulate test subjects who are no longer present. Whereas the missing test subjects are being modeled/simulated, the system they use could be the actual equipment, revealing performance limits or defects in long-term use by these simulated users.

Note that the term computer simulation is broader than computer modeling, which implies that all aspects are being modeled in the computer representation. However, computer simulation also includes generating inputs from simulated users to run actual computer software or equipment, with only part of the system being modeled: an example would be flight simulators which can run machines as well as actual flight software.

Computer simulations are used in many fields, including science, technology, entertainment, and business planning and scheduling.