Natural Model based Design in Context: an Effective Method for Environmental Problems

Eric D. Kameni, Theo P. van der Weide, Wouter T. de Groot


Analyzing complex problem domains is not easy. Simulation tools support decision makers to find the best policies. Model-based system development is an approach where a model of the application domain is the central driving force when designing simulation tools. State-of-the-art techniques however still require both expert knowledge of the application domain and the implementation techniques as provided by ICT (such as multilevel agent technology). Domain experts, however, usually do not master ICT sufficiently. Modeling is more insightful for the domain expert when its goal is to formalize the language being used in that domain as a semi-natural language. At the meta level, this language describes the main concepts of the type of application domain. The model then is a concretization of this meta model. The main focus of this article is (1) to propose a natural-language-based approach to modeling application domains, (2) to show how these models can be transformed systematically into computational models, and (3) to propose the tool TiC (Tool in Context) that supports the domain expert when developing a model and generating a simulation tool. Our research methodology is based on Design Science. We verify our approach by describing the various transformation steps in detail, and by demonstrating the way of working via a sample session applying a real problem of Laf Forest Reserve deforestation in North Cameroon.


Actor Model; Multi-level Agent-based Model; Domain-specific Languages; Model Transformation; Environmental Problems

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DOI: 10.7250/csimq.2017-12.05


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