A practical exercise in simulation model validation

Mingrui, G. and Murray-Smith, D.J. (1998) A practical exercise in simulation model validation. Mathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems, 4(1), pp. 100-117. (doi:10.1080/13873959808837070)

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The validation of continuous simulation models is a matter of great practical importance. Unfortunately, however, it often receives very little attention in university-level courses on modelling and simulation. The paper considers some possible reasons for the lack of emphasis given to model validation issues in education and describes an exercise which has been designed to introduce students to some practical aspects of internal verification and external validation of nonlinear dynamic models. The work involves a laboratory-scale system based on two inter-connected tanks of liquid and also demonstrates some important limitations of a widely-used nonlinear model. Features which make the chosen system particularly suitable for this teaching application include the relatively simple physical nature of the system and the fact that all the key variables of the model are accessible for measurement. Students are exposed to a range of practical issues, such as the selection of the sampling rate for data collection and the design of experiments to provide data sets appropriate for external validation purposes. Dealing successfully with such questions and carrying out validation tests exposes students to concepts of model credibility and the whole process of model development and application. They are also challenged in terms of their practical abilities to use computer simulation techniques and in their understanding of the mathematical model and the physics of the real system. It is argued that an exercise of this type can have very important educational benefits.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Model validation, simulation, nonlinear engineering education
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Murray-Smith, Professor David
Authors: Mingrui, G., and Murray-Smith, D.J.
Subjects:T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Mathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

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