An Introduction to Variable-Resolution Modeling and Cross-Resolution Model Connection

by Paul K. Davis

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This paper is an introduction to the subject of variable-resolution modeling (VRM) and the closely related issue of connecting models of different resolution to create a "family." It addresses the following questions: (1) what is variable-resolution modeling? (2) why might one want it? (3) what forms can it take and how does it relate to "families of models"? and (4) how should one go about it? After providing definitions and some basic concepts, the author works through an extremely simple but concrete combat modeling problem to illustrate generic issues. The usual approach to model building, even if undertaken professionally, results in a diversity of independent models with different but overlapping resolutions, models that are difficult to use together because of both obvious and subtle differences in perspective, assumption, and definition. To move across levels of resolution readily it is desirable to have designed for that in the first place, or to pay the price of redesigning existing models so that they are truly integrated. Lashing models together without such redesign is likely to cause trouble or require substantial experience, skill, and time on the part of the analyst. Lashups may run, but using them efficiently and understanding the results is a different matter.

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