Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, allowing us to do things more quickly and efficiently. But too often it seems to make things harder, leaving us with fifty-button remote controls, digital cameras with hundreds of mysterious features and book-length manuals, and cars with dashboard systems worthy of the space shuttle. James Surowiecki

Unit 16 Overview

In the previous Unit, we discussed things you can do to make it easier for others to understand your model. In some cases, however, the person using your model (e.g., a client, a regulator, a manager, or some other stakeholder) may not have the background and/or interest to view the details of your model structure.  However, they may still want to interact with the model at a very high level by changing some of the input parameters, running the model and viewing results (e.g., asking “what if” questions with the model) .

In fact, providing a mechanism to do so is often critical to the success of a modeling project as it allows a wide variety of stakeholders to interact with, learn from, ask “what if” questions with, and ultimately take some ownership in, the model. This makes the model much more accessible and hence more likely that the model will be trusted and ultimately used to support decision making.  

To support this, GoldSim provides two powerful capabilities:

      The ability to create a “shell” around your GoldSim model (in the form of a graphical user interface that you design referred to as a Dashboard), such that the model can be easily used by someone without requiring them to be familiar with either the GoldSim modeling environment or the details of the specific model. You can choose to expose (and make editable) model inputs and display model outputs that you feel are necessary to allow the user to interact with your model in a constructive way.  You can choose to hide all the computational details of the model, or if desired, provide a mechanism by which the user can leave the Dashboard and view the underlying structure and assumptions of the model. 

      Models with (and without) Dashboards can be saved as Player files and subsequently opened using the GoldSim Player, which can be downloaded for free from the GoldSim website. Hence, GoldSim models that you have created can be viewed, edited (via a Dashboard) and run by others without requiring them to have a licensed version of GoldSim.

This Unit discusses these two capabilities.

In particular, this Unit discusses the following:

      An overview of Dashboards and Player files;

      Creating a simple Dashboard;

      Creating, viewing and running a Player file;

      Understanding Dashboard and Player views;

      Dashboard input controls;

      Dashboard output controls;

      Dashboard button controls; and

      Advanced Dashboard options.

This Unit has a total of 11 Lessons (including this overview and a summary at the end). The Unit includes one Exercise, as well as several Examples that we will explore.