Video | Developing standards for modeling is critical and exciting

Rewatch the presentation delivered by Volker Grimm on 20 February 2024

Posted by Open Modeling Foundation on February 22, 2024 · 2 mins read

On 20 February 2024, we ran the first ModelShare workshop and heard from Volker Grimm about how important it is to have standards in computational modeling practices. Volker drew on his experience in this space, presenting the inception and evolution of the Overview, Design concepts and Details (ODD) protocol, which helps describe models; and TRAnsparent and Comprehensive model Evaluation (TRACE), which is for documenting model development, testing, and analysis.

In the case of ODD, we learn about its initial focus on agent-based models (ABMs), its uptake within ecology, and later uptake within the social sciences. Interestingly, Volker also provides evidence that standardizing ABMs helped change modeling practices. The standard became a sort of language that modelers would use to guide their own and scrutinize other’s work – ODD became a sort of lingua franca.

A wordcloud of places where people encounter standards with publishing and education being the two most prominent responses

When delving into the case of TRACE, Ayllón et al.’s (2015) TRACE document makes it clear that TRACE requires extra work (it’s 103 pages long!). Notwithstanding, Volker offers anecdotal evidence of researchers having their models published thanks to detailed TRACE documents. But it is clear that TRACE requires more than a bottom-up approach to launching a standard, whereby it is quickly adopted by the scientific community, and becomes an expectation of modeling practices. Sometimes, we need a stick as well as a carrot, and the stick may take the form of a requirement by certain authorities, such as governments, funders and publishers.

Watch the full presentation below, join us on 04 March for the second workshop, and sign up to our Google Group to learn how you can get involved with the ModelShare program!

📸 Image by Alan Warburton / © BBC / Better Images of AI / Plant / Licenced by CC-BY 4.0