Challenges and Benefits of Adopting a Comprehensive and Consolidated View
to be able to perceive all aspects of M&S
To be able to give a comprehensive definition of M&S, it would be beneficial to consider its multifacetted nature as attested even by:
1. Domain-independent categories of usages of M&S
2. Different perceptions of M&S, and
3. The focus areas of many M&S associations and organizations.
The title of the Conference of NATO Modeling and Simulation Group (NMSG) which is "Transforming Training and Experimentation through Modelling and Simulation" is very promising along this line for the appreciation of the two aspects of M&S, i.e., training (or providing experience) and performing experimentation. (05-06 October 2006, Rome, Italy).
The following report, from National Science Foundation (NSF) Blue Ribbon Panel on Simulation-Based Engineering Science and titled: “ Revolutionizing Engineering Science through Simulation”, May 2006 is a good indication of the increasing importance of M&S in science and engineering. Of course M&S has been used—for decades—very successfully in many applications of science and engineering.
An example to an integrated engineering simulation application is VSIL. "Vehicle Simulation Laboratory (VSIL) is a simulation system for testing all aspects (electrical, network, operations, thermal, weight, etc) of prototype vehicle design prior to committing to a physical prototype."
The following may serve as a caution, for not to be trapped in one single point of view:
"Model-based simulation is like a gem: it is multifacetted. Some of the specialists too close to one of the facets, perceive only that single facet and the reflection of the success of their careers trough it. The more they see the latter, the more, it seems, they are enamoured with that aspect of modelling and simulation instead of exploring new horizons. If it was to this attitude, nobody would have discovered the New World.
The fable of the elephant and the blindfolded men is a well-known metaphor in eastern cultures, to illustrate how easy it is to confuse the parts with the whole."
(From the 'Forward' of the book by B.P, Zeigler, Multifacetted Modelling and Simulation and Discrete Event Simulation, Academic Press, 1984. Forward by Tuncer Ören.)