Courses: Introduction to GoldSim:

Unit 9 - Building Hierarchical Models

Lesson 1 - Unit 9 Overview

"We are a naturally hierarchical species."

- Octavia E. Butler

All of the models that we have explored and built so far have been very small (e.g., no more than ten elements or so). These models are useful for learning basic concepts, but such simple models are generally not detailed enough to realistically represent real-world systems.  Models that are used to represent real systems are much more complex, consisting of hundreds or even thousands of individual elements.

But how do you build, organize, manage and view such a model?  You do so by creating separate groups or collections of elements. Such groups are created in GoldSim by placing elements into Containers. A Container is simply a "box" into which other elements can be placed. In a sense, it is like a directory folder on your computer. Containers can be placed inside other Containers, and any number of levels of containment can be created. Containers provide features that allow you to create, manage, navigate and view complex models. 

Although most GoldSim models routinely include several hundred elements, it is not unusual at all for GoldSim models to contain several thousand elements, and models as large as 30,000 elements have been built! It is unlikely that you will need to build models that are that large, but all of your models will use Containers, as they are necessary to build anything beyond the simple models we have viewed so far (and as we shall see, even some of those models would have benefited from the use of Containers). In fact, because without them the size and complexity of your models would be severely limited, Containers are arguably the most important element in GoldSim.

This Unit will describe how to create, navigate and use Containers. In particular, in this Unit we will discuss the following:

  • Understanding Containers;
  • Creating and navigating Containers;
  • Organizing a model using Containers;
  • Tools for exploring complex hierarchical models;
  • Understanding local scopes (localizing Containers);
  • Understanding the Container Properties dialog; and
  • Protecting a Container.

This Unit also includes two Exercises.

This Unit has a total of 10 Lessons (including this overview and a summary at the end).