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Understanding the environment: A systems approach
Understanding the environment: A systems approach

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1.3 Analysis and mathematical modelling

Like the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang, the opposing practices of intuition and analysis can actually complement each other when exploring complex situations, but only if used within an appropriate framework. The initial exploratory phase of engagement with complexity does indeed benefit from an intuitive approach. However, once feedback relationships have been identified that present a plausible explanation for the behaviour of a complex system, it is often useful to 'test' some of these relationships with a more quantitative and analytical approach. The second half of this course will therefore focus on a particular technique, system dynamics modelling, which builds bridges between visual, verbal and mathematical representations of complexity. This course does not require any mathematical prerequisites and you will be introduced to the unpredictable behaviour of systems through a graphical representation of extremely simple mathematical simulations.