Chapter 1

Simulation: History, Concepts, and Examples 1

1.1. Issues: simulation, a tool for complexity

1.1.1. What is a complex system?

The world in which we live is rapidly advancing along a path toward complexity. Effectively, the time when component parts of a system could be dealt with individually has passed: we no longer consider the turret of a tank in isolation but consider the entire weapon system, with chassis, ammunition, fuel, communications, operating crew (who must be trained), maintenance crew, supply chain, and so on. It is also possible to consider the tank from a higher level, taking into account the interactions with other units in the course of a mission.

We thus pass from a system where a specific task is carried out to a system of systems accomplishing a wide range of functions. Our tank, for example, is now just one element in a vast mechanism (or “force system”), which aims to control the aeroterrestrial sphere of the battlefield.

Therefore we must no longer use purely technical system-oriented logic, but use system-of-systems-oriented capacity-driven logic1 [LUZ 10, MAI 98].

This is also true for a simple personal car, a subtle mixture of mechanics, electronics, and information technology (IT), the conception of which considers manufacturing, marketing, and maintenance (including the development of an adequate logistics system) and even recycling at the end of the vehicle’s useful life, a consideration which is becoming increasingly important with growing ...

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