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Keynote Lectures

Object-Oriented Modelling and Simulation: State of the Art and Future Perspectives
Francesco Casella, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

The Importance of Simulation Technologies for Future Democracies
Catholijn Jonker, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Credibility, Validity and Testing of Dynamic Simulation Models
Yaman Barlas, Bogaziçi University, Turkey


Object-Oriented Modelling and Simulation: State of the Art and Future Perspectives

Francesco Casella
Politecnico di Milano

Brief Bio

Francesco Casella is assistant professor at Politecnico di Milano, where he received his Master's degree cum laude and his PhD in Information and Control Science.

His main research interests are dynamic modelling and control of energy systems and object-oriented modelling of engineering systems in general.

He has pioneered the application of equation-based object-oriented modelling, in particular the Modelica language, to power generation and energy conversion systems. He is the main author of the Modelica ThermoPower library, a collection of reusable models for the field of power generation. He is also interested in equation-based, object-oriented modelling of engineering systems in general, in particular with reference to methods and algorithms for robust initialization and parallel simulation of object-oriented models, to debugging methods for equation-based declarative models, and to innovative algorithms and methods for the efficient simulation of large-scale models.

He is currently responsible for the Politecnico unit of the Horizon 2020 project PreFlexMS, which has the goal to design and demonstrate an innovative once-through steam generator for flexible operation, using high-temperature molten salts form central receiver solar plants as the heat source.

He has been the chairman and main organizer of the 7th International Modelica Conference in Como, 2009, and is the general chair of the forthcoming 7th International Workshop on Equation-Based Object-Oriented languages and tools, to be held at Politecnico di Milano in April 2016.

He is also a member of the board of the Open Source Modelica Consortium and was appointed Vice Director of the Consortium in 2015.

Equation-based, object-oriented simulation of dynamical systems, first introduced in the '90, has now reached a state of maturity, and is widely used in a number of engineering domains, such as automotive, mechatronics. The talk will give an overview of the object-oriented modelling paradigm and of successful applications, with particular reference to the Modelica language and tools. It will also discuss open problems and challenges which will have to be tackled to ensure an even wider adoption of object-oriented modelling methods and simulation tools in new, emerging fields such as cyber-physical system design.



The Importance of Simulation Technologies for Future Democracies

Catholijn Jonker
Delft University of Technology

Brief Bio

Prof. Dr. Catholijn M. Jonker, Professor of Interactive Inteligence in the  Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, has chaired international conferences and workshops. She has participated in and reviewed several EU projects. Chair of De Jonge Akademie (Young Academy) of the KNAW (The Royal Netherlands Society of Arts and Sciences) in 2005 and 2006 (member from 2005 to 2010). Member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maarschappij der Wetenschappen, and of the Academia Europaea. Winner of an individual VICI grant of 1.5 M Eur of NWO (2007). President of the Netherlands Network of Female Professors (LNVH) 2013 – 2015 (board member 2008-2015). ECCAI Fellow since 2015. Current Google Scholar H-index of 36.

Her publications address cognitive processes and concepts such as negotiation, teamwork and the dynamics of individual agents and organizations. In all her research lines Catholijn has adopted a value-sensitive approach. In particular, she works towards intelligent agents that can interact with their users in value-conflicting situations when also meta-values no longer solve the situation.  In Delft she works with an interdisciplinary team to create synergy between humans and technology by understanding, shaping and using fundamentals of intelligence and interaction.

The work reported during the annual Simultech conferences can and should play a key role in the upholding of the rights and obligations of all citizens, industries, NGO's, and governamental organisations of democracies. 
The increase of data streams, the rise of the Internet of Things, the power of Machine Learning, the increased intelligence of Artificial Intelligence techniques, all will rapdily increase their potential impact on our society. To avoid drowning in the ever increasing abundance of information people will happily make use of intelligent filters, tune to the social media channels of those people they feel comfortable with. Therefore, people will run the risk of hanging around in their own filter bubbles, being confirmed in what they believed, instead of being encouraged to challenge their beliefs and convictions. 
I hope this talk can serve as a call to all engineers and researchers to think carefully on the possible impact of their work on our future digital society. 
When talking to policy makers, politicians, and people of the general public, they currently believe that social simulations will actually predict what will happen, that artificial intelligence such as Watson could make decisions for us on ethical questions such as euthanasia, the division of scarce medical resources, and, e.g., for self-driving cars, if accidents are unavoidable, who or how many to kill would be the best choice. You all know that so far and for the foreseeable future, no technique goes beyond the expressive power of the model that underlies the technique. As a result, it is our responsibility when developing those techniques, or when applying them in the real world, to carefully consider the values of the individual people and groups of people affected by the technology. We should be able to clearly explain how these values are taken into account in our designs, models and technology, and what the limitations of the systems are that are developed based on our work.
Open problems/research challenges
How can we entice, encourage people to particpate regularly and with an open mind to the deliberations that will determine the polical choices in the years to come?  
Nudging of the unaware vs supporting the aware in self-selected behavioural change?
When building decision support agents, how to avoid to fall in the pitfall of our own preferred information bubble?
Can simulation of decision support technology help in debates about ethical issues?
To what extent can we avoid that our technology will be abused?



Credibility, Validity and Testing of Dynamic Simulation Models

Yaman Barlas
Bogaziçi University

Brief Bio

Yaman Barlas received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Upon receiving his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985, he joined and eventually received tenure at Miami University of Ohio.  He returned to Bogaziçi University in Istanbul in 1993, where he is still working as a professor of Industrial Engineering and directing the SESDYN research laboratory ( His interest areas are credibility of simulation models, system dynamics method, systems science, modeling of socio-economic and medical problems, and simulation as a learning/training platform. Prof. Barlas teaches simulation, system dynamics, systems science and advanced dynamic systems modeling. He has several teaching excellence awards.  He is a founding member and a former President of the System Dynamics Society, and has various editorial roles in different publications, including Executive Editor of System Dynamics Review

Also called ‘model validity’ testing, model credibility evaluation has always been a controversial issue in any modeling methodology. We briefly discuss why this important notion is so controversial. To this end, we classify major types of models, particularly as they impact the notion of model credibility: i- Purely statistical forecasting (black box) models, and ii- Causal-descriptive policy (transparent) models. We then focus on what makes causal-descriptive model credibility and evaluation unique and quite difficult, compared to short/medium-term forecasting. One important result is that causal-descriptive credibility consists of two different aspects:  structural and behavioral.  In most simulation modeling (particularly system dynamics policy simulation), establishing structure credibility must strictly precede behavior credibility; the latter has no value without the former.  We thus discuss Structural tests and behavior pattern tests for dynamic simulation models separately. Structure tests can further be classified into direct and indirect structure tests. We place special emphasis on indirect structure tests.  We also provide a quick overview of recent model testing software developed at SESDYN Lab. Finally we discuss some implementation issues in practice.