April 17, 2020

What are we looking for

Data ≠ Knowledge

Our knowledge is based on experience, on data we collect

But raw data is meaningless

We use data and thinking to build models

Then we test if the models make correct predictions

Models allow us to

  • Reason
  • Explain
  • Design
  • Communicate
  • Act
  • Predict
  • Explore

The Model Thinker Scott E. Page, 2018


Circles, boxes, arrows

  • Circles represent things
  • Boxes represent processes that change things
  • Arrows show the inputs and outputs of process


T consumes one A and one B to produce one C


Something wrong here

This diagram has a problem:

  • Transcription process does not destroy DNA
  • Translation destroys RNA to make a protein
    • Not true, but a good approximation

Correct dogma

  • Simple model, with correct balance of mass

  • How would you complete it?

    • Draw it with pen and paper

Cell growth

names do not matter



Cell growth

position of circles and boxes does not matter

Two systems, one model




If the models have the same arrows, they will have the same behavior

Predator - Prey

Chemical reaction

Chemical reaction 2

Zombie attack