Joshua Epstein wrote a paper titled "Why Model?" available at http://www.santafe.edu/media/workingpapers/08-09-040.pdf in which gives 16 reasons:
- Explain (very distinct from predict)
- Guide data collection
- Illuminate core dynamics
- Suggest dynamical analogies
- Discover new questions
- Promote a scientific habit of mind
- Bound (bracket) outcomes to plausible ranges
- Illuminate core uncertainties.
- Offer crisis options in near-real time
- Demonstrate tradeoffs / suggest efficiencies
- Challenge the robustness of prevailing theory through perturbations
- Expose prevailing wisdom as incompatible with available data
- Train practitioners
- Discipline the policy dialogue
- Educate the general public
- Reveal the apparently simple (complex) to be complex (simple)
(Epstein elaborates on many of the reasons in more detail in his paper.)
I would like to ask the community:
- are there are additional reasons that Epstein did not list?
- is there a more elegant way to conceptualize (a different grouping perhaps) these reasons?
- are any of Epstein's reasons flawed or incomplete?
- are their clearer elaborations of these reasons?