Fall 2002
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Welcome to the Fall 2002 issue of the GoldSim Newsletter! Our goal is to provide information that helps you get the most out of GoldSim. We also hope that the Newsletter can act as a vehicle to build connections between users within the GoldSim community.

Each newsletter will deliver the latest GoldSim news, as well as a number of regular items. This will include a Featured GoldSim Application, tips from the GoldSim developers, a list of new models added to the GoldSim Model Library, a list of new GoldSim Knowledge Base articles, and a description of new features that the GoldSim Development Team is currently working on. Each Newsletter will be archived on our website so you can revisit old issues.

Since this newsletter is for you, we encourage you to send us your comments and contributions. If you send us a contribution and we use it, we will acknowledge you in the Newsletter. Send your contributions to newsletter@goldsim.com.

The GoldSim Technology Group

 


Mining Companies Rely on GoldSim for Life-Cycle Analysis

In recent months, a number of the world's largest mining companies have begun using GoldSim to support the full range of life cycle analyses. Although GoldSim has historically been used for environmental and water management issues, these companies are beginning to deploy GoldSim to address the following areas:
· Mine feasibility analysis (Should we develop the mine or not?)
· Mine construction simulation (How should we build the mine?)
· Evaluation and refinement of production alternatives (How should we operate the mine?)
· Closure and permitting studies (How should we close the facility when mining is finished?)

Because the mining industry must address a broad range of risk management issues (e.g., uncertainty in metal prices, changes in environmental regulations, political instability, mine accidents) GoldSim's ability to incorporate uncertainty and disruptive events in the analysis make it an ideal tool for these applications.


Academic Users Discover GoldSim in Time for the New School Year

The number of GoldSim Academic users has grown over 100% during the two-month period of August and September 2002. This dramatic growth reflects the growing awareness that while GoldSim Academic offers the power and flexibility to simulate real-world systems, it's also an excellent educational tool. Because GoldSim Academic is free to qualified academic users, Professors and instructors can include GoldSim modeling as part of their regular curriculum knowing that there will be no cost to their students.

GoldSim Now Shipping with a Basic Tutorial

A basic tutorial that provides an introduction to GoldSim is now available for download. New and existing users can update their current GoldSim software by visiting the GoldSim Resource Center and following the instructions for downloading and installing the tutorial file. We also anticipate releasing an on-line help system by the end of the year.

GoldSim Releases Service Pack SP-1 and SP-2 for GoldSim V. 7.4

GoldSim released two service packs, SP-1 and SP-2, in the months of June and August respectively. These releases insure that users have access to the latest and more reliable version of the software. In particular, SP-1 corrects several memory issues associated with versioning and SP-2 corrects a problem associated with models created in version 7.21 or earlier. SP-2 also provides the following new features:
· Cumulative and discrete stochastic data entries can now be copied to the clipboard using Ctrl-C.
· Dynamic model settings can now be changed when model is in Ready Mode (e.g. GoldSim Player before starting a simulation.)

These service packs are available for all current members of the GoldSim Upgrade and Support program.

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Economic Analysis of Manufacturing Business Opportunities Using GoldSim

Gian Frontini, Ph.D.
Manufacturing Economics Group
Centre for Automotive Materials and Manufacturing
Kingston, Ontario Canada

The area of manufacturing economics lies at the interface between engineering and business, and has offered us the opportunity to solve problems critical to not only the operation of manufacturing processes, but also the viability and profitability of the manufacturing business and the industry in general. There are a host of issues within this area, but we have thus far concentrated on supply chain design and management and the economic analysis of manufacturing business opportunities.

In the economic analysis of business opportunities, we employ several tools, including two that we'll discuss a bit further here. Cost models are developed most often as a comparative tool, used to evaluate alternative manufacturing processes or materials. These are generally spreadsheet-based, and the results can be used in other models that incorporate the dynamics of the system under investigation. The dynamic model is the other tool that we have used extensively, and has been used in two forms: the systems dynamics variety, and the discrete events variety.

With the adoption of GoldSim, we have begun to meld these tools together, using the capabilities of the software to incorporate discrete events in a system dynamics model, and to read and write variable values to/from the spreadsheet in a dynamic fashion.

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The GoldSim spreadsheet element provides a very powerful mechanism to link your GoldSim models to an Excel spreadsheet, and every GoldSim user should be familiar with it. The spreadsheet element can be used in two different ways: as a function or subroutine, and as a database. In the former case, during a simulation you send data to the spreadsheet, tell it to recalculate itself, and then retrieve the calculated values back into GoldSim. In the later case, you don't send any data to the spreadsheet at all. Instead, you use it as the repository for all your inputs, and GoldSim pulls the data from the spreadsheet at the beginning of each run.

This is particularly useful if you have a large amount of data to enter into GoldSim, particularly if that data may be modified frequently in the future. The featured GoldSim application in this issue of the newsletter discusses the usefulness of spreadsheet links in more detail. In addition, an article has recently been added to the Knowledge Base that describes how to correctly utilize VBA within spreadsheets linked to GoldSim. A corresponding model illustrating this has also been added to the Model Library.

 

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The GoldSim Model Library allows GoldSim users to build on the experience and knowledge of others by sharing models. The Library is available from within the GoldSim Resource Center (GRC).

Within the last several months, we have added a number of new models to the library, including a drug portfolio model, a demonstration supply chain model, a series of simple inventory models, and a model that illustrates the use of a Spreadsheet element in conjunction with Excel VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) in order to create a custom external routine.

If you have a model that you think would be worthwhile to post to the library, please send it, along with text describing the model, to library@goldsim.com.

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The GoldSim Knowledge Base contains articles addressing frequently asked questions, workarounds for known problems, and advice on applying GoldSim. The Knowledge Base is available from within the GoldSim Resource Center (GRC). A few of the recent additions include:
· How to use Spreadsheet elements and Excel VBA to create more powerful models.
· How to create and use units for items (like widgets, boxes, or cars).
· Several articles addressing installation errors.

We encourage you to visit the Knowledge Base, as even expert users are likely to find useful information there.

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Version 7.5 of GoldSim will be released before the end of the year. Some of the new features included in release include:

· Memory management has been significantly modified to improve computing performance for large models and models that use external elements.
· Development of an enhanced cell-net solver algorithm for the CT/RT modules that will produce much faster, more stable solutions with large numbers of Cell elements.
· All math and logical functions in GoldSim now support arrays. For example, for matrices A and B the expression A * B will create a new matrix with each term being the product of the corresponding terms in A and B.
· A new distribution type, the Student's t-distribution, has been added to the Stochastic element.
· New math functions have been added for calculating normal, Student-t and gamma distributions.
· A basic printing capability for result tables has been added. This can be used to print out time histories, result statistics, etc.
· Dashboards have been enhanced to allow model date/time settings to be updated, along with the input values of Information and Material Time History elements.

As most users are aware, we are constantly adding new features to GoldSim, based on feedback from our own modelers, as well as those of our clients, partners and customers.


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2002 Golder Associates Inc. If you wish to unsubscribe to this Newsletter, visit our website www.goldsim.com/enews. If this Newsletter was forwarded to you by someone else, and you wish to subscribe, you can also do so at www.goldsim.com/enews.