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computer model is the creation of a model of a real system in order to study the behaviour of the whole system.

The idea behind developing the model is to try to find out what mechanisms control how a system behaves.  This makes it possible to predict the behaviour of the system in the future and also see if it is possible to influence this future behaviour.

  • Application that can be used to simulate different scenarios
  • to work out all of the possible outcomes.
  • to mimic (copy) real life system
  • also known as “computer model”

What it is Used for?

  • Prediction
    • Models can predict outcomes based on inputs we enter (e.g. spreadsheets)
  • Training
    • For example, allowing pilots or surgeons to learn their skills safely.
  • Design
    • Architects can produce very accurate 3D models of buildings.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Modelling Application

Advantages of Modelling Application:

  • Cheaper
    • rather than waiting for real thing is constructed and damage happen
  • Safer
    • for the novice to practice handling simulation than the real thing (eg: plane simulator)
  • Save time
    • can simulate faster than real time
  • Greater solution range
    • mimic a wide range of extreme situations

Disadvantages of Modelling Application

  • Accuracy
    • never perfectly mimic real life
  • Initial Expense
    • require sophisticated hardware and software – which can be expensive
  • Programmer Error
    • simulation outcomes will be more inaccurate.

Examples of Modelling Application

Flight Simulator

  • mimic the skills needed to pilot a real aircraft.
  • PC/Laptop simulation designed to be used at home
  • Replica cockpit simulations which are large and expensive but feel more like the real thing.


Driving Simulation

  • Use of vehicle controls (steering wheel, accelerator, gears, clutch etc)
  • Practice driving maneuvers (emergency stop, reversing, parking etc)
  • Learning how to handle large trucks safely
  • Driving in hazardous conditions (snow, heavy rain etc)

3D Models (buildings, rooms, mobile phones etc)

  • Zoom

Images can be zoomed into so that fine detail can be seen clearly

  • Rotation

Images can be rotated through many different angles so that every aspect of the model can be seen

  • Cheaper

Creating and modifying prototypes on software does not require expensive, physical materials (like plastic, wood, bricks etc)

  • Quicker

CAD software allows prototypes to be created and modified by manipulating elements on a screen. This is much quicker than having to assemble and change plastic/wood based prototypes.


Finance Simulation (business spreadsheet models)

  • Spreadsheet models can be used to predict finance type outcomes based on mathematical values.
  • These predictions can show us things like.
  • Profit / Loss
  • Over budget / Within Budget
  • Answers to ‘What If’ questions


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