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Keynote Lectures

Object-Oriented Modelling and Simulation: State of the Art and Future Perspectives
Francesco Casella, DEIB, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

The Importance of Simulation Technologies for Future Democracies
Catholijn Jonker, Interactive Intelligence group, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Credibility, Validity and Testing of Dynamic Simulation Models
Yaman Barlas, Bogaziçi University, Turkey


Object-Oriented Modelling and Simulation: State of the Art and Future Perspectives

Francesco Casella
DEIB, Politecnico di Milano

Brief Bio
Francesco Casella is assistant professor at Politecnico di Milano, where he received his Master's degree cum laude and his PhD in Information and Control Science. His main research interests are dynamic modelling and control of energy systems and object-oriented modelling of engineering systems in general. He has pioneered the application of equation-based object-oriented modelling, in particular the Modelica language, to power generation and energy conversion systems. He is the main author of the Modelica ThermoPower library, a collection of reusable models for the field of power generation. He is also interested in equation-based, object-oriented modelling of engineering systems in general, in particular with reference to methods and algorithms for robust initialization and parallel simulation of object-oriented models, to debugging methods for equation-based declarative models, and to innovative algorithms and methods for the efficient simulation of large-scale models. He is currently responsible for the Politecnico unit of the Horizon 2020 project PreFlexMS, which has the goal to design and demonstrate an innovative once-through steam generator for flexible operation, using high-temperature molten salts form central receiver solar plants as the heat source. He has been the chairman and main organizer of the 7th International Modelica Conference in Como, 2009, and is the general chair of the forthcoming 7th International Workshop on Equation-Based Object-Oriented languages and tools, to be held at Politecnico di Milano in April 2016. He is also a member of the board of the Open Source Modelica Consortium and was appointed Vice Director of the Consortium in 2015.

Equation-based, object-oriented simulation of dynamical systems, first introduced in the '90, has now reached a state of maturity, and is widely used in a number of engineering domains, such as automotive, mechatronics. The talk will give an overview of the object-oriented modelling paradigm and of successful applications, with particular reference to the Modelica language and tools. It will also discuss open problems and challenges which will have to be tackled to ensure an even wider adoption of object-oriented modelling methods and simulation tools in new, emerging fields such as cyber-physical system design.



The Importance of Simulation Technologies for Future Democracies

Catholijn Jonker
Interactive Intelligence group, Delft University of Technology

Brief Bio
Prof. dr. Catholijn Jonker is head of the Interactive Intelligence group of the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science, TU Delft. Jonker is also full professor of Explainable Artificial Intelligence at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science of Leiden University. She is Fellow of EurAI, member of the Academia Europaea, president of ICT Platform of the Netherlands, member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities, member of the CLAIRE National Advisory Board for The Netherlands. In the past she was chair of the Dutch Network of Female Full Professors and of De Jonge Akademie of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prestigious grants are the NWO VICI (1.5 M€, 2007) personal grant negotiation support systems, and NWO Gravitation consortium grants on “Hybrid Intelligence” (19 M€ subsidy, 41.9 M€, 2019) of which she is vice-coordinator, and “Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies” (18 M€ subsidy, 23.6 M€, 2019)  of which she is co-applicant.

The work reported during the annual Simultech conferences can and should play a key role in the upholding of the rights and obligations of all citizens, industries, NGO's, and governamental organisations of democracies. 
The increase of data streams, the rise of the Internet of Things, the power of Machine Learning, the increased intelligence of Artificial Intelligence techniques, all will rapdily increase their potential impact on our society. To avoid drowning in the ever increasing abundance of information people will happily make use of intelligent filters, tune to the social media channels of those people they feel comfortable with. Therefore, people will run the risk of hanging around in their own filter bubbles, being confirmed in what they believed, instead of being encouraged to challenge their beliefs and convictions. 
I hope this talk can serve as a call to all engineers and researchers to think carefully on the possible impact of their work on our future digital society. 
When talking to policy makers, politicians, and people of the general public, they currently believe that social simulations will actually predict what will happen, that artificial intelligence such as Watson could make decisions for us on ethical questions such as euthanasia, the division of scarce medical resources, and, e.g., for self-driving cars, if accidents are unavoidable, who or how many to kill would be the best choice. You all know that so far and for the foreseeable future, no technique goes beyond the expressive power of the model that underlies the technique. As a result, it is our responsibility when developing those techniques, or when applying them in the real world, to carefully consider the values of the individual people and groups of people affected by the technology. We should be able to clearly explain how these values are taken into account in our designs, models and technology, and what the limitations of the systems are that are developed based on our work.
Open problems/research challenges
How can we entice, encourage people to particpate regularly and with an open mind to the deliberations that will determine the polical choices in the years to come?  
Nudging of the unaware vs supporting the aware in self-selected behavioural change?
When building decision support agents, how to avoid to fall in the pitfall of our own preferred information bubble?
Can simulation of decision support technology help in debates about ethical issues?
To what extent can we avoid that our technology will be abused?



Credibility, Validity and Testing of Dynamic Simulation Models

Yaman Barlas
Bogaziçi University

Brief Bio
Yaman Barlas received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Upon receiving his Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1985, he joined and eventually received tenure at Miami University of Ohio.  He returned to Bogaziçi University in Istanbul in 1993, where he is still working as a professor of Industrial Engineering and directing the SESDYN research laboratory. His interest areas are credibility of simulation models, system dynamics method, systems science, modeling of socio-economic and medical problems, and simulation as a learning/training platform. Prof. Barlas teaches simulation, system dynamics, systems science and advanced dynamic systems modeling. He has several teaching excellence awards.  He is a founding member and a former President of the System Dynamics Society, and has various editorial roles in different publications, including Executive Editor of System Dynamics Review. 

Also called ‘model validity’ testing, model credibility evaluation has always been a controversial issue in any modeling methodology. We briefly discuss why this important notion is so controversial. To this end, we classify major types of models, particularly as they impact the notion of model credibility: i- Purely statistical forecasting (black box) models, and ii- Causal-descriptive policy (transparent) models. We then focus on what makes causal-descriptive model credibility and evaluation unique and quite difficult, compared to short/medium-term forecasting. One important result is that causal-descriptive credibility consists of two different aspects:  structural and behavioral.  In most simulation modeling (particularly system dynamics policy simulation), establishing structure credibility must strictly precede behavior credibility; the latter has no value without the former.  We thus discuss Structural tests and behavior pattern tests for dynamic simulation models separately. Structure tests can further be classified into direct and indirect structure tests. We place special emphasis on indirect structure tests.  We also provide a quick overview of recent model testing software developed at SESDYN Lab. Finally we discuss some implementation issues in practice.