Rechenwelten. Computersimulationen machen komplexe Systeme greifbar Mathematical worlds. Computer Simulations allow to comprehend complex systems

Manuela Lenzen

Keywords: in silico experiments, simulation studies, Fermi-Pasta-Ulam-Experiment, epidemiology, 3rd column of research, weather forecast, philosophy of science, digital humanities

DOI: 10.17160/josha.3.4.211

Languages: German

The first simulation experiments were performed early in the 20th century. But it was with the development of high performance computing that simulations became a powerful tool in science and engineering. Simulation experiments have some obvious advantages: they are cheaper and easier to achieve than real world experiments, and they allow testing for dangerous outcomes. Their main application consists in simulating complex processes that cannot be calculated right away. To be simulated, a problem has to be given an appropriate mathematical form; the simulation will then be able to approximate possible behaviours of the simulated system. For the philosophy of science, simulation experiments bear questions like: Do simulations really help to understand the ongoing processes? How can one know that the simulated process equals the real process in relevant ways? INSTITUTION: Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung der Universität Bielefeld, 33615 Bielefeld, GERMANY

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