Saturday, March 19, 2016


There is a current effort to develop an old rail coal terminal area in the south of Baltimore being pursued by the Under Armour people and some developers.

A projected "before and after" picture in the tweet below.

The people working on this concept design and illustration at this point in the process do not know anything about the detailed structural steel, concrete, electrical systems, environmental management, marketing, etc. knowledge that will eventually be employed in the completion of this complex project.

So for "macro" design to be effective and successful, it manifestly does NOT require knowledge of what is going on for the "micro" level.

So I don't know what economists are doing when they say they have a "model".

I don't ever recall the word "model" ever being used in my 4+ years of education in engineering.  We never did "modeling" at all.  Neither will any of the people who will eventually work on the detailed design and construction of this new property development in Baltimore.


Bob said...

Aeronautical engineers use wind tunnels, meteorologists use computer models, hydrologists use wave simulators with miniature shorelines and breakwaters, etc.

What kind of engineering did you do?

Matt Franko said...


I dont think a wind tunnel is a model... I'd agree the meteo people use models..

A simulator is not modelling...

imitate the appearance or character of.
"red ocher intended to simulate blood"
synonyms: imitate, reproduce, replicate, duplicate, mimic

a three-dimensional representation of a person or thing or of a proposed structure, typically on a smaller scale than the original.
"a model of St. Paul's Cathedral"
synonyms: replica, copy, representation, mock-up, dummy, imitation, duplicate, reproduction, facsimile

We often hear of "DSGE Models" with these people..

That is "Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium modeling"

randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely.

So you see here how can you make a model that is stochastic?

so there is something wrong here at a very basic level...

Bob said...

The waves are simulated, but the water, sand and other materials are miniaturized models of actual shorelines.

A Thevenin Equivalent Circuit fits the definition of a model.

The process of calibration requires a standard, which is an example of an ideal model.

Do engineers use shitty models that do not describe the real world? No. OTOH building circuits that handle very high frequencies will require manual calibration.

Dan Lynch said...

There was lots of modeling when I was an engineering student, and yes they called it "modeling."

Another thing engineers did was state their assumptions and their objectives. Economics needs work in those areas.

Matt Franko said...

I think you guys are confused on what a model is...

I had a friend in architecture and he built models sometimes... but that was about it...

Bob 'equivalent' is not synonymous with 'model', 'standard' is not synonymous with 'model'...

I guess I dont know what these people are trying to accomplish with using these things they call "DSGE models"... what are they trying to do? I dont understand what they are trying to do?

What are they doing? trying to calculate something? measure something? design something?

Tom Hickey said...

Scientific Modelling

Models in Science

Chapter 4. Models are the Building Blocks of Science

Bob said...

You left out the following definiton:
2. a system or thing used as an example to follow or imitate.

Synonym: representation

Matt Franko said...

"a system or thing used as an example to follow or imitate."

But if nothing is there in the first place, then what are you imitating?

Or how do you even build THE MODEL in the first place? if it is intended to be used as something created to then follow in a derivative creation?

Design/creation is not modeling...

Matt Franko said...

What are these people trying to do?

Or are they thinking like "If a butterfly flaps its wings then.... yada yada....." ?

Nothing mankind implements/regulates/operates is approached that way....

jrbarch said...

The human creative process (mirroring the universal) goes from the Ideal (model, purpose) to Ideas (planning) to Icon (materialisation) – motivated by Will (human term) in the universal; reflected as desire in human creativity. In software like Revit Architecture, the model drives the architecture and all of the other disciplines in overlapping and interactive stages. Those who create ‘Dream’. Creativity involves the power of energy (consciousness) to both radiate and attract to itself what it needs to create, and the Will to hold the creative process steady throughout all stages. The model is the first visual reflection to be handed down to the mind. Intellect kicks in, then desire to create, then the material building skills.

The problem with the world today is that desire rules, and material miasma and conflict results.

Bob said...

But if nothing is there in the first place, then what are you imitating?

In an economic model there should be parameters that serve as inputs. The goal should be to create a system or thing that describes X. Hence it could be used to represent X.