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Systems are all around us. Using Systems Thinking, we can better understand these systems by building models that can be simulated and analyzed. These examples show common, simple systems overlaid with the underlying dynamics that make them behave as they do. By looking beneath the surface, we are better able to bring these systems into focus.


Traffic jams are something we all have experienced. It has been observed many times that building more roads (or traffic lanes) to reduce congestion doesn't work in the long run. The demand grows to fill the traffic lanes available. This model looks at that phenomenon: How could it be that more roads do not reduce traffic congestion?

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Agriculture offers many modeling opportunities. In this Systems in Focus, we look at the life cycle of a dairy herd, including milk production. This model could be used as the basis for methane production control, trade agreements about milk and how that impacts herd size, increasing production with demand, and more...

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Deciding when to expand a business is difficult in any industry. For the airline industry, there are both large investments and long delays involved in expansion, making it important to test your assumptions as you go...

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One of the greatest environmental challenges we face is how to do more with less: Less raw materials, less pollution, less damage to the environment. This model shows the life-cycle assessment for the aggregate products manufactured and consumed in a firm, an industry, a region, a nation, or the world. It focuses on solid waste...

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Energy production is one of the defining problems of our time. As global demand and consumption rise with population growth and economic development, so do emissions, resource waste, and health hazards. We are in a time of transition from polluting, wasteful, and dangerous ways of generating energy towards technology that is safer and decreases the strain on non-renewable resources...

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This Systems in Focus model takes a look at Sustainable Fishing. In theory, Sustainable Fishing is achieved when fish are caught at a rate which does not cause a decline in the overall fish population. In practice, sustainable fishing can be very difficult to achieve. Fishing areas are within the commons, which encourages greater investment in ships when there is demand...

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The modern assembly line is one of the greatest and now most common manufacturing process concepts in history. It was created to save time and money, and to increase the overall quality of the output. By mechanically moving parts in a line through a factory to different work stations, a product can systematically be built up piece by piece, while decreasing time spent moving parts...

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The video above shows a waterfall in a serene setting. A lot is happening behind the scenes to create this picturesque vista. Rainfall on land creates runoff and therefore stream flow. Some of this runoff is absorbed into the soil. Some of that flows beneath the ground to the stream and some returns to the air through evapotranspiration...

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