Holism, or the Erosion of Modularity - a Methodological Challenge for Validation

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Lenhard, Johannes
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conference paper description
Modularity is a key concept in building and evaluating complex simulation models. My main claim is that in simulation modeling modularity degenerates for systematic methodological reasons. Consequently, it is hard, if not impossible, to accessing how representational (inner mathematical) structure and dynamical properties of a model are related. The resulting problem for validating models is one of holism. The argument will proceed by analyzing the techniques of parameterization, tuning, and kludging. They are – to a certain extent – inevitable when building complex simulation models, but corrode modularity. As a result, the common account of validating simulations faces a major problem and testing the dynamical behavior of simulation models becomes all the more important. Finally, I will ask in what circumstances this might be sufficient for model validation.