Outcome is a project aimed at creating an accessible, easy to work with, integrated multi-model simulation framework along with necessary tools.

We want to enable people to simulate complex global systems in an extensible way, reusing models created by the community.

We believe it’s a great way to educate and raise awareness about difficult global problems we face as a civilization.

This page serves as a brief, high-level introduction to the project. If you want to learn more please check out the documentation booklet.

What is a simulation framework?

We define a framework as an environment, or an interface, allowing for creation of different specific applications using it’s generic functionality. In our case it’s about the ability to create different simulation models, using the underlying set of building blocks.

Outcome is a simulation design framework allowing for different, albeit usually structurally and/or thematically related, use cases.

Integrated multi-model simulation?

Integration refers to tackling interdisciplinary problems related to the functioning of the system. Modeling a global human-earth system requires consideration of many subsystems, all of which are deeply interconnected.

Multi-model is a model of models. It means we can create multiple models and glue them together, and expect them to work together to create a higher-level representation of the larger system we’re trying to understand. This is possible because for all modeling we use the same set of design rules - at their core our models deal with variables and finite state machine driven components attached to entities.

Complex global systems?

Global refers to the scope of the systems we’re dealing with. Focusing on the macro-scale means dealing with some specific challenges.

Complexity is a somewhat relative term. In our case it means that the systems we’re trying to model and simulate are non-trivially complex. Both in terms of the amount of data and the internal complexity, as well as the amount of connections between the different subsystems and their unpredictable behavior.

Models created by the community?

One of the goals of this project is to enable more people to work on simulation models. This is an approach to scaling up the amount of the desired complexity - have more people work on developing different sub-models.

Collaboration, made possible by the modularity of the underlying simulation framework, as well as the overall focus on accessibility, is one of the defining features here.

Amount of work and research required to build a useful simulation model can be overwhelming for any one person. Today it’s still mostly the domain of small number of scientists. Outcome is not thought out as a serious scientific approach to integrated global model simulation, but it can still serve as an important step in the good direction. By introducing massive collaboration effort it could change the way we think about these kinds of simulations - we could try to bring them into the so called main stream.

Exploring easier ways of collaboration and reusing work of other people is important, as is inventing ways of spreading important knowledge and systems thinking mindset to more people.

What kind of tools are we talking about?

Simulation models are not enough, we need to be able to do things with them, like run and analyze them.

Related to the idea of community-driven development of simulation models is the idea that we need accessible tools for dealing with designing, running and analyzing simulations.