World Scientific Publishing, 2007, 284 pp. What do computer models really tell us? Is it possible to build a perfect model of the world — a true microcosm — or are there inherent limits that prevent such comprehensive models? And what is the true status of a computer model: is it an image of the world? A theory? An experiment? An equivalent in its realm to the jade mountain, capturing the essential and blocking out the meaningless? Or is it a glorified fiction, like a motion picture or video game? Can computer simulations of the world extend our knowledge of the world? These questions admit no simple answers. Since there is an increasing tendency to treat computer models as if they are reality, these questions must be answered without glib overoptimism.Contents The Jade Mountain What are Models? The Modeling Process An Object-Oriented Universe The Crossroads of Theory and Experiment Modeling the Appearances Laplace’s Mirage, or the Impossibility of the Exact Calculation of the World Climates of Fact Calculating War and Peace From the Past into the Future: Is Historical Simulation Possible? Virtual Reality … and Reality Notes and References Index
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