VALUMICS partner University of Iceland attended the 2018 Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) in Gothenburg Sweden at the beginning of December.
The WSC, which has been held every year for over 50 years, is the premier international forum for disseminating recent advances in the field of system simulation. At the 2018 conference, in addition to continuing to report leading developments and applications in other fields, the goal was to highlight applications of simulation for noble causes. In light of that, the track sessions featured uses of simulation in efforts analysing and addressing issues facing humanity including, but not limited to, reducing world hunger, other social causes and problems and environmental issues.
This conference is highly relevant for the VALUMICS project as the aim of the project is to use simulation to aid in identifying and eventually testing possible policy interventions affecting to food supply chain. Supply chains are a traditional theme in the field of simulation and there were several sessions at the conference specifically focused on that theme. Also, of great interest for the VALUMICS project, were sessions focused on methodology, especially the ones focusing on the relatively recent hybrid simulation paradigm. When two or more of the traditional simulation modelling techniques (discrete event simulation, system dynamics, and agent-based modelling) are integrated to some extent it is generally referred to as hybrid simulation. Hybrid simulation is very well suited for modelling complex systems such as food systems where a single methodology cannot capture the different elements of a system. At the conference there where, lively discussions about the development of this emerging field of research. The main results were that simulation modelling should focus more on the problem at hand rather than the simulation paradigm of choice. Therefore, more emphasis should be put on the conceptual modelling stage and the selection of a suitable simulation method, be it a single one or a hybrid of two or more. The conference was very informative for the VALUMICS team members and the insights gained will help to further advance the project work.