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Vitaly Pronskikh
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conference paper description
Verification and validation of computer codes and models used in simulation are two aspects of the scientific practice of high importance and have recently been discussed by philosophers of science. While verification is predominantly associated with the correctness of the way a model is represented by a computer code or algorithm, validation more often refers to model’s relation to the real world and its intended use. It has been argued that because complex simulations are generally not transparent to a practitioner, the Duhem problem can arise for verification and validation due to their entanglement; such an entanglement makes it impossible to distinguish whether a coding error or model’s general inadequacy to its target should be blamed in the case of the model failure. I argue that in order to disentangle verification and validation, a clear distinction between computer modeling (construction of mathematical computer models of elementary processes) and simulation (construction of models of composite objects and processes by means of numerical experimenting with them) needs to be made. Holding on to that distinction, I propose to relate verification (based on theoretical strategies such as inferences) to modeling and validation, which shares the common epistemology with experimentation, to simulation. To explain reasons of their intermittent entanglement I propose a weberian ideal-typical model of modeling and simulation as roles in practice. I suggest an approach to alleviate the Duhem problem for verification and validation generally applicable in practice and based on differences in epistemic strategies and scopes.

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