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The challenges of a complex world …


Since Aristotle, mankind has been used to the principle of causality; meaning that every effect has its cause. However, is it possible to identify the exact cause of every effect within an increasingly connected environment? What are the economic and ecological effects of CO2 taxation? How do ski slopes influence their environment? What is the fairest and most sustainable way to allocate scarce resources?

We are acting in complex systems, where impacts are often disguised by random effects and appear with a delay. Therefore, causes often remain in the dark.

… tackled by computer simulation

When complexity reaches the limits of the human brain, we need to find tools and means to overcome this obstacle. Since the advent of the first electronic computing machines, mankind has tried to harness their computing power for simulations. The steady increase of their capabilities brought with it ever stronger, more powerful and complex simulation models – for a wide field of applications.

Simulation is neither always possible nor feasible. If applied correctly, however, it can be very helpful in many areas. And their range and accuracy is continuously increasing.

… to increase knowledge

This exhibition showcases four real-world examples from research domains that show how modern means can help us reduce and understand complexity. Human development researchers show decision-making processes; environmental historians explain the complexity of ski resorts and consequences on the surrounding; archaeologists give insights into 3000 year-old excavations; economists show how computer models are about to change the state of the art in economic research.

The interactive exhibition allows you to actively explore these problems with the respective simulation models. Additional information is provided by interviews with the scientists who explain their research in an understandable manner.