An overview of operational gaming/systems simulation. Four separate areas must be distinguished: analytic models, machine simulations, man/machine simulations, and free-form games. Analytic models are usually too abstract to solve operational problems directly, but give insights into sources of difficulty. Computer simulation appears to have been oversold; a shakedown is occurring, and many expensive simulation programs go unused. The difficulties of modeling, specification, data gathering, validation, sensitivity analysis, question formulation, and answer recognition make general-purpose simulators impossible. In man/machine gaming, people may be used because they are cheaper than software, or because human factors are being studied. Free-form gaming involves individuals acting in a scenario; other than the value of their time, costs are miniscule. Simulation costs are probably at the order of $100 million yearly. Conclusion: The future of gaming and simulation is quite good; demand is growing and technology is improving; but the growth must be controlled. 21 pp.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.