Rationale for Systems Modelling
This introductory chapter outlines the documented benefits of the systems research approach, and the steps and methodologies typically used here. Potential discrepancies between the modelled and real-world systems are discussed, along with interpretational issues. The various types of models used for the study and optimisation of agricultural systems are outlined. These include the widely-used and much published linear and mathematical programming methods, which however do tend to be constrained representations of the real world, and can give poor results. As an alternative approach, general (unstructured) simulation models are promoted as a more flexible and realistic method of representing the system being modelled.
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