Reflect on the correspondence between the model of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity.

- What parts of the real-world activity were reflected the model?
- What are some differences between the modeled version of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity?
- What features of the real-world are left out? Do those features matter?
- How can computer models be used to learn about the real world?
- What kinds of things would you rather model on a computer than in real life?

Respond to these questions in your post and come back to comment on someone else's response.

## Comments

The participatory activity and the computer model both captured the application of simple rules and the emergent pattern. The model allowed students to simplify the activity by removing potentially confounding variables (e.g. step size, bias) and accelerating the emergence of pattern. Although idealized, the model removes the intimacy of the human thought process. The activity allowed students to analyze the behavior of an individual (i.e. themselves) with respect to the emergent pattern of the group. Participating in this activity allows students to start to grasp the coding that is behind the scenes of the computer model. This matters, thus significant value is added by complementing the activity with the model.

Computer models can be used to learn about the real world through acceleration of natural processes occurring at inconvenient/unfeasible spatial or temporal scales, to identify factors contributing negligible variability, and as preliminary feasibility studies to aid the development of experimental design. An example of a phenomenon I would rather model than experiment with in real life is contaminate fate and transport (e.g. HAZMAT scenarios, atmospheric dispersion, groundwater plumes, heavy metal/radionuclide body burden concentrations).

Reflect on the correspondence between the model of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity.

Similarities:The general rules were the same for both the real world activity and the model: each agent/person is supposed to turn towards the agent/person on their right and take a step forward. This command is repeated for each “run”.

Differences:The modeled version is very exacting with all agents acting in a uniform matter, while the real-world example involved people who are inherently different.

Features Left Out:The difference above (variation in behavior of people vs. uniform behavior in agents) is the biggest factor that is “left out” in the model. When modeling natural processes, it’s important to recognize the inherent variation amongst individuals and it’s affect on the emerging phenomena you are observing. In this case, people will take steps with different sizes, depending on a variety of factors, ranging to the size of their foot to the size of their gait. While the emergent phenomenon will eventually occur, the computer model is an idealized scenario. This variation only matters in that it should be considered, but it shouldn’t have a drastic affect on the emergent pattern.

Utility of Computer Models:Computer models are a convenient way to make predictions of the world around us, considering we can observe the patterns and rules that nature follows. It helps to observe things that happen over a long time period and predict what impact that variations will have.

Instances when Computer Model is Better:It’s nice to run things in a computer model that 1) take too long, 2) are too small, or 3) are too dangerous or expensive to run in real life.

What parts of the real-world activity were reflected the model?The rules for the movement of the turtles and the students were the same. The pattern in both were relatively the same.What are some differences between the modeled version of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity?I found the students did not follow the directions exactly. Some of the students turn at a larger angle than other students and some took large steps than other students. These discrepancies do not occur in the modeled version.What features of the real-world are left out? Do those features matter?The fact that the students are different sizes and walk differently is left out, but this does not matter because the overall pattern is still the same.How can computer models be used to learn about the real world?Computer models can be used to simulate a wide variety of human situations, animal behaviors, and scientific phenomenaWhat kinds of things would you rather model on a computer than in real life?a zombie apocalypse, spread of disease, natural disaster.What parts of the real-world activity were reflected the model?The rules for the movement of the turtles and the students were the same. The pattern in both were relatively the same.What are some differences between the modeled version of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity?I found the students did not follow the directions exactly. Some of the students turn at a larger angle than other students and some took large steps than other students. These discrepancies do not occur in the modeled version.What features of the real-world are left out? Do those features matter?The fact that the students are different sizes and walk differently is left out, but this does not matter because the overall pattern is still the same.How can computer models be used to learn about the real world?Computer models can be used to simulate a wide variety of human situations, animal behaviors, and scientific phenomenaWhat kinds of things would you rather model on a computer than in real life?a zombie apocalypse, spread of disease, natural disaster.What parts of the real-world activity were reflected the model?The turtles followed the same rules as the students in their example. The results were relatively the same.

What are some differences between the modeled version of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity?The turtles did exactly what was coded for them to do, while the students had some errors in their implementation of the rules. Humans cause errors, while computers can only do what it is told. Some students may not have turned their feet exactly as they should or taking the same size step as the other students.What features of the real-world are left out? Do those features matter?The turtles moved at the exact same pace as each other, where the student's steps varied in size, timing, and degree of their turn. These aren't all that important when looking at the overall pattern within the functioning program.How can computer models be used to learn about the real world?By programming rules to agents within an environment, we can watch how they interact. I can see how computer science is helpful in anticipating the impact of certain effects like extinction or movement of organisms within an ecosystem.What kinds of things would you rather model on a computer than in real life?The spread of diseases, the impact of a particular species going extinct, experimental strategies for relieving floods or preventing other natural disasters by guiding the flow of the elements.