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Title: Intrinsic Uncertainties in Modeling Complex Systems.

Models are built to understand and predict the behaviors of both natural and artificial systems. Because it is always necessary to abstract away aspects of any non-trivial system being modeled, we know models can potentially leave out important, even critical elements. This reality of the modeling enterprise forces us to consider the prospective impacts of those effects completely left out of a model - either intentionally or unconsidered. Insensitivity to new structure is an indication of diminishing returns. In this work, we represent a hypothetical unknown effect on a validated model as a finite perturba- tion whose amplitude is constrained within a control region. We find robustly that without further constraints, no meaningful bounds can be placed on the amplitude of a perturbation outside of the control region. Thus, forecasting into unsampled regions is a very risky proposition. We also present inherent difficulties with proper time discretization of models and representing in- herently discrete quantities. We point out potentially worrisome uncertainties, arising from math- ematical formulation alone, which modelers can inadvertently introduce into models of complex systems. Acknowledgements This work has been funded under early-career LDRD project #170979, entitled "Quantify- ing Confidence in Complex Systems Models Having Structural Uncertainties", whichmore » ran from 04/2013 to 09/2014. We wish to express our gratitude to the many researchers at Sandia who con- tributed ideas to this work, as well as feedback on the manuscript. In particular, we would like to mention George Barr, Alexander Outkin, Walt Beyeler, Eric Vugrin, and Laura Swiler for provid- ing invaluable advice and guidance through the course of the project. We would also like to thank Steven Kleban, Amanda Gonzales, Trevor Manzanares, and Sarah Burwell for their assistance in managing project tasks and resources.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States