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The Model Analyst's Toolkit: Scientific Model Development, Analysis, and Validation

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Quarterly status rept. no. 5, 20 Aug-19 Nov 2013

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One of the most powerful things scientists can do is to create models that describe the world around us. Models help scientists organize their theories and suggest additional experiments to run. Validated models also help others in more practical applications. For instance, in the hands of military decision makers, human social cultural behavior HSCB models can help predict instability and the socio-political effects of missions, whereas models of the human brain and mind can help educators and trainers create curricula that more effectively improve the knowledge, skills, and abilities of their pupils. While there are various software tools that are used by the scientific community to help them develop and analyze their models, they are not ideal for rapid model exploration or for use by non-computational scientists. They also largely ignore the problem of validating the models. To address this gap, Charles River Analytics undertook the Validation Coverage Toolkit for HSCB Models project with ONR. Under this effort, we successfully designed, implemented, informally evaluated, and deployed a tool called the Model Analyst s Toolkit MAT, which focused on supporting social scientists to visualize and explore data, develop causal models, and validate those models against available data. During the current reporting period, we made progress on a number of fronts, including improved support for describing temporal constraints on causal models, improved support for visualizing the validation results of the causal model analysis, and a number of usability improvements to support our users. We also wrote and submitted a paper and paper abstract on MAT and continued to support a variety of users and programs that are using MAT.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Operations Research

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