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The Fourth Warwick Empirical Modelling Bulletin (WEB-EM-4) / 2007-8

Can Empirical Modelling Facilitate Learning?: Modelling Graphs to Assist in the Teaching of AI Search Algorithms     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

This paper aims to critically assess the claim that Empirical Modelling (EM) tools and techniques can be used to facilitate learning. In Artificial Intelligence, algorithms such as A*, Greedy Best First Search and Dijkstra’s algorithm are taught in order to find the most efficient path from one node to another in a graph. When teaching the behaviour of these algorithms, it can often be difficult to ensure that students have the correct understanding. Students may consider the algorithms to be simple, but then find out that they have misinterpreted the taught material when completing practical examples. It is proposed that the use of Empirical Modelling techniques to model graphs and dependencies between nodes and edges could assist traditional methods of teaching the behaviour of graph algorithms. This is illustrated by the creation of a model of a graph, which is fully traversable using the A* algorithm.

DVDMT: A Tool for Dynamic Visualisation of Dependency-based Models     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

It is very difficult to visualise the relationships between variables and functions in programs developed using procedural and object orientated languages. It is possible to view the static structure of the programs using UML and similar techniques but none of these can show the relationships between variables and functions as a program runs dynamically. This paper looks at how the extra information available within dependency-based technologies can be utilised to provide a dynamic view of the interdependencies between observables. This work has led to the development of a visual dependency viewer users can use to explore and develop executing models. The resulting application shows that it is possible to provide a visual representation of a model when additional information is available to describe the relationships between variables and functions.

Teaching trigonometry using Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The trigonometric functions sin(x), cos(x) and tan(x) are relationships that exist between the angles and length of sides in a right-angled triangle. In Empirical Modelling terms, the angles in a triangle and the length of the sides are observables, and the functions that connect them are the definitions. These well-defined geometric relationships can be useful when teaching GCSE-level students about the functions, as they provide a way to visualise what can be thought of as fairly abstract functions. This paper looks at how different learning styles apply to Empirical Modelling, and presents a practical example of their use in a model to teach trigonometry.

Empirical Modelling for the Composition and Education of Guitar Tablature Music     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Empirical modelling encourages exploration and experimentation during the development process. The most effective way to learn is by trial and error and learning by doing. Empirical modelling thusly appears ideal for use in an educational context. An empirical approach is also adopted for the composition of music since it is necessary to amend a piece, listen to how it sounds and correct if required. This paper will look at building a model in tkeden to take advantage of these aspects to create a platform for learning some music theory whilst composing music.

Empirical Modelling, Constructivism and Understanding NIM     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Whilst the attractions of the constructivist outlook on learning are well established, the majority of those who develop educational software are seemingly resistant to movement away from the instructionist view of learning that underpins many formal education systems. It is thus the intention of this work to broadly evaluate the alignment of construal construction with the overarching principles of this constructivist view of learning. In realising this intention, this work discusses both the instructionist and constructivist points of view, with particular reference to selected interpretations of constructivism. Following this extended discussion, the relationship between Empirical Modelling and constructivism is broadly considered, with explicit consideration of how the construction of construal is aligned with the constructivist outlook. The issues raised during this consideration are then concretised and illustrated through references to the NIM modelling study. Finally, this work will conclude with the suggestion that, in line with current research, construal construction is indeed a particularly relevant activity in the context of constructivism.

Feature Driven Development & Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Feature Driven Development is a new software development methodology and its appeal lies in its natural applicability. This paper is an introduction of Feature Driven Development (FDD), with incorporated analysis of its likeness to Empirical Modelling. Out of this analysis, specific challenges for EM have been highlighted. Further, a teaching model, which describes the formation of features in FDD, has been produced using LSD principles. Suggestions for further work have also been detailed.

An investigation of Empirical Modelling of artefacts and its advantages over traditional modelling for real-world activities     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The objective of this paper is to illustrate the characteristics of Empirical Modelling (EM) in real world situations, and make a comparison with a traditional modelling paradigm. In order to observe activities within the real world domain, the wiimote is used as the mediating device between models and physical experiences. One of the limitations in modelling is building an artefact so that it reflects the physical environment as closely as possible. While EM caters for a part of the problem by allowing users to modify the model based on their cognition, the accuracy and efficiency of such method is still unreliable, but we are still able to see a clear difference in the model limitation between EM artefacts and traditional modelling representation.

Using Empirical Modelling to Demonstrate Linear Kinematics     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Engineering mathematics can be difficult to understand. Often a student’s first step in solving a problem will be to visualise it by drawing a diagram with pen and paper. As described by M Klawe (1995), this paper introduces how interactive electronic tools can be advantageous for learning. An Empirical Model created with Eden scripts is described, and its implementation explained. The software demonstrates the mathematical topic of linear kinematics by visualising the scenario on which an exam-style question is based. The trajectory of an object is randomly chosen, and the user is asked to calculate parameters of its flight. The software allows visualisation of each scenario and some experimental interaction by controlling the simulated motion of a particle. The program shows output in both graphical and numerical forms, to illustrate how they are linked. For example, how the flight path of a projectile changes under varying forces of acceleration due to gravity. The model will primarily be of benefit as an educational tool, to help learn linear kinematics. This particular branch of mathematics is part of the A-level mathematics syllabus, and could prove to be a valuable learning tool for this. Secondly, the study will highlight how the use of Empirical Modelling techniques can aid in the construction of such computer programs as described in our study; how they are ‘oriented towards aspects of computing practice for which formal methods offer limited support’. The example we use is particularly suited to EM since the central concept of dependency is tightly linked with that of mathematical equations. When the user modifies one parameter of a kinematic equation, others must be altered accordingly.

Discrete Event Simulation: A comparative study using Empirical Modelling as a new approach     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

This study introduces Empirical Modelling as a new approach to create Discrete Event Simulations based on an example model of Lush, a high street cosmetics retailer. The model is designed as a business optimisation tool, allowing the store manager to select the optimal amount of staff for any given trading day. Moreover the model should see the effect of altering their staffing levels.

Empirical Modelling: A Tool for Experiential Learning?     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The many theories of learning which are debated by psychologists and educators alike, each offer distinct advantages to the development of knowledge and meaning within an academic environment. One such theory is that of experiential learning, which for those in the development of knowledge, is well recognised and respected. The intention of this paper is to demonstrate the use of Empirical Modelling as a teaching aid to assist with experiential learning. Attention will be paid to its ability to model states of the world and changes between these states, predominately through the construction and analysis of a model of a classic computer science problem, the Tower of Hanoi.

Supporting the Project: A Study into the Modelling of a Project Lifecycle     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The hierarchical structure of a project and the data dependencies between artefacts lends itself very strongly to the ambitions of a new computing paradigm known as Empirical Modelling. In EM we use can use a model to define a project lifecycle, we can say that a project has tasks and that each task has a duration and an assigned resource working to a given calendar. The time it takes a project to complete depends on the duration of the tasks which in turn depend on the number of hours a resource works per week. More formally with respect to EM terminology, the tasks, resources and calendars can be considered to be the observables; the relationship between these observables are dependencies while agents can be likened to the changes in project state. This paper concerns my technical study into the use of Empirical Modeling as a means to manage a simple project lifecycle.

Investigating Cognitive Artifacts as part of the Human Computer Interface and the Role of Empirical Modelling in the Teaching and Observation of this Process     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

This paper seeks to investigate whether Empirical modelling can play a key role in cognitive artifacts. It will examine the notion of human computer interaction and how the process of cognitive artifact formation occurs. This is to investigate how the process can be facilitated, or show areas where possible investigation could occur using empirical modelling. It will also seek to examine the possibilities for applying it to teaching new users interaction with a computer system or allowing users to explore the system so that observation can be made of pre-existing cognitive artifacts that users may already possess or expect from a typical system. It is hoped that this will help in the fields of Educational Technology and Software Development.

The Computer as an Agent in Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

I modify an existing educational computer simulator to behave as an agent in an Empirical Modelling context, and present an example, in the form of a simple Empirical Modelling study, of how such an agent can form part of a practical model. I then suggest ways in which the aforementioned concepts can be applied within the contexts of engineering and education.

System Development with Formal Specification from the Empirical Modeling perspective     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

System development, or broadly speaking, software engineering, would introduces risks and bugs as the increase of complexity. Formal specification is researched and developed for several years to constrain the states and transitions. This paper explores the system development with formal specification from the Empirical Modeling perspective, which is a novel approach to computer-based modeling focusing on observables, dependency, and agency. A specific example, train barrier controller system, is developed for reference to illustrate the ideas here.

An educational system for modelling mechanics problems     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Newtonian mechanics is taught in schools and colleges as part of many physics and applied mathematics courses. Previous work showed that empirical modelling can produce useful teaching applications in this field by developing a simple simulation of masses moving under gravity in order to demonstrate a single physical law. There is a great deal of scope for this work to be extended by modelling dependencies between objects along with other physical properties such as friction and elasticity. This paper describes an attempt to build upon this previous work and create a set of tools along with an intuitive user interface which would allow a teacher to model a wide range of typical A-level standard mechanics problems quickly and easily. The problems encountered while doing this and the relative merits of using EM for this kind of project are discussed.

An Educational Model for Teaching the Gas Laws     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The Gas Laws are a series of Laws governing the behaviour of a gas under different conditions, and are typically taught to high school students studying physics. A students understanding of these laws can be greatly enhanced through experiment. This report describes a model designed to allow a user to conduct a series of virtual experiments on a conditions.

Airport Layout Planning     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Airport layout planning is a highly complex discipline which requires much forethought, as inadequate or suboptimal solutions could be both dangerous and costly. However, designing a good airport requires compromises between the requirements of all stakeholders involved, ranging from aviation authorities and airlines to passengers and nearby residents. This is a highly delicate issue as evidenced by current airport extension proposals in the UK, including Heathrow and Stansted airports. Although airport planning tools exist, no tool presently allows multiple stakeholders to observe and interact with a single airport planning model, allowing them to evaluate a proposed layout from different points of view. This paper aims to illustrate the applicability of Empirical Modelling concepts to such a process, by constructing and demonstrating the use of an airport model.

Interactive Empirical Model Design Simulation of Aircraft     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

This paper explores the interactive simulation environment design with the definitive notation and the interactive principles in the empirical modelling. Constructing virtual environments which simulate the objects and behaviours in the real world is one of the important researches in the computer science. Empirical modelling attempts to build truly open and experiential interactive environments. Different from the traditional approach, the empirical modelling exploits the computer for pre-theory experiment which uses experience to model unknown interactions and un-well understood situations. Definitive notation is the formal language in which to describe the model. In the following paper, the design of the interactive simulation environment with the empirical modelling and the definitive principles will be significantly investigated with a demo for the simulation of aircraft.

The Polyface Farm Model: A learning approach towards Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

In this paper, I describe my little experimental model that’s been built with the Empirical Modelling tools and discuss my understandings of the science of Empirical Modelling upon the experience I gained from the modelling process. Formally, the theme falls in the categories of both Interactive Graphic and Educational Technology ﰀ1ﰁ. However, I would rather describe the model as an animated‐spreadsheet look‐alike. The model is based on the Polyface Farm. Located in Virginia, US, the farm is famous for its eco‐friendly methods and high productivity.

Understanding Game Theory Through Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Game theory is a fundamental concept that governs our interpretation of the world around us. Utilisation’s of game theory range from modelling coin flips to analysing financial markets. With such wide ranging applications, an early understanding of its principles is essential. The purpose of this paper is to show how, through the use of empirical modelling, a model can be created that presents these principles and relates them to the real world game.

Basic Mathematical Calculations and Number Conversion in different bases using Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Basic methods of teaching are evaluated and compared and a detailed discussion on ways of teaching is elaborated with an overview of constructivist method of teaching. Problems related to the current scenario of uses of technology is discussed and the need for technology in education is analysed and evaluated. Learning on a whole is discussed in detail to support the idea of using technology in education. The salient features of Empirical Modelling (EM) with respect to the field of educational technology are discussed and the advantages of using EM are proposed. A detailed description of the tool developed for basic mathematical calculations and conversion of numbers into different bases is provided and also its development with relation to educational technology is discussed. An overall understanding of the tool proposed is evaluated and a brief conclusion of the ideas of using EM in educational technology and thus the developed tool is summarized.

New Advent of Education Technology using Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

Computer based technologies have increased its popularity in past decades in every area ranging from education, gaming and engineering industries. Education often demands the technology to be revised to fulfil the criteria of teacher and to engage the imagination and creativity of pupil. Although great interest and considerable investment has been done in adopting technology within education, current technology struggles to meet these demands. Recent technology requires continuous support from the person who is having knowledge about the software for smallest amount of improvement. Thus, it lacks the flexibility and portability required in the field of education. To solve this problem dynamic perspective computing system is required which has human understanding and integrated development of artefacts. Foundation of Empirical Modelling (EM) is based on the exploration and experience which is essential in the education, EM can be used to fulfil the challenging demand of education. EM provides user friendly environment where a constructionist without the knowledge of computer programming can build the personal meaning full model. In terms of education, teacher can build a model to suit their personal style and pupils can use the same technology to build their own personal model of creativity and imaginations. The goal of this study is to describe usefulness of EM in the field of education. A basic model is provided to help the student for mathematics at very beginning stage which starts with simple summation of two digits. This will help the students to experience why and how something is happening instead of only knowing how something is happening. The model is having goal to broaden the potential of EM in primary mathematics.

Study of supply chain management from warehouse to retail store     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

This paper will discuss the supply chain management system from a warehouse to a retail store with an EM perspective. In the field of EM many models have been made till date discussing the traffic problems and the observation of traffic. Many of those were on the small scale and some of them were on wider scale. For any supply chain to work efficiently and effectively the road transportation is must. How an independent observer can view the problems caused by traffic and can take the decisions to keep the supply chain is moving, is the focus of study. The model will give us the built environment to see the effects which would be caused because of our actions in different problematic situations occurred during the whole process.

Oil Logistics Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

This paper highlights some of the dependencies involved in the operation of a typical oil rig logistics system and how agents can help define the behaviour of processes involved in its operations. A model of the logistics system is built using the tkeden package.

Modelling weights in an educational environment using Empirical Modelling (Key Stage 1)     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

In this paper Empirical Modelling is used alongside Key Stage 1 specifications, to allow the modelling of weights within a learning environment. The aim of this study is to discuss current teaching methods for modelling weights within the classroom. Currently modelling weights is taught by physically getting the students to hold weights either side of their bodies with arms outstretched and by using scales within a classroom with students asked to provide estimates. Although this method may be very practical, I was interested in trying to model weights in a more Empirical Modelling way. In this study I will discuss how it is best to model weights in this way, and how this can be applied to Key Stage 1 of teaching.

A Tutorial for Teaching Empirical Modelling     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The EM principles and tools can be difficult to grasp if you have no one to introduce them to you. Various presentation-style models exist that are useful for the beginner. More introductory models could be developed, using eden, to educate the beginner in using EM principles and tools. The EM presentation environment, created by Antony Harfield, provides a suitable platform for such development. My model is combined the room model with the presentation environment to construct a room model presentation, in order to be used as lecture stuff for the introduciton of Emperical Modelling, or beginner learning stuff by themselves. After studying background and the model, then a comparison of how EM principles and conventional approaches address presentation EM is presented, a detailed evaluation of how well an existing EM model is adapted to its application is disscussed. In this paper I am going to show the presentation environment can be used effectively to extend the room model and make it more accessible to students and teachers.

AI with EM, OXO case study     [Paper (PDF Document), Model (ZIP or other archive)]

The ultimate goal of AI research is to make a machine, which can generate a result which is identical to human work or cannot be identified between its result and human’s result. In this document, I will present my new way to approach this ultimate goal with the support of EM. My target is to create a mind map which is base on some predefined rule. The dependency of states on this mind map can be auto redefined by the AI its self, base on its experience during its life time. I use OXO game model as my case study, in this document I will explain the structure of this model, and how it work.