Limitations of computer (mathematical) models

From Computer Science Wiki
Modeling & Simulation[1]

In many situations it is not possible to know all of the variables involved.

Let's answer this question by looking at a few different systems and imagining which variables might be the most impactful.

a sports player[edit]

If I wanted to create a model of a sports player what variables might I choose? I want to choose a variables that are meaningful. Maybe:

  1. number of injuries
  2. age
  3. number of points scored
  4. number of games won
  5. number of games lost

Limitation: Of course if I haven't considered their current health, current ability, and their strength compared to a certain team, I would not have an accurate model.

I think these variables MIGHT help me model a sports figure.

a country[edit]

Maybe I wanted to create a model of a country. The variables I choose might be related to what I want to do with my model.

  1. percentage of population with electricity access
  2. electricity - consumption
  3. electricity - exports
  4. electricity - imports

These variable are used from the CIA world factbook with gratitude. I wonder why they create models of EVERY COUNTRY ON EARTH?

Limitation: I wonder what happens to electricity when the gas is suddenly cut off? Or if the government introduces a huge subsidy for renewable energy? I would not have an accurate model.

a car[edit]

I wonder how these variables might inform my choices about buying a car:

  1. total cost
  2. monthly average gasoline cost
  3. monthly repair cost
  4. monthly resale value

Limitation: I didn't include number of unscheduled repair visits nor did I include number of repair recalls or warranty visits.


  • Describe the limitations of computer (mathematical) models.