Validation and Verification in Social Simulation: Patterns and Clarification of Terminology

Epistemological Aspects of Computer Simulation in the Social Sciences, EPOS 2006, Revised Selected and Invited Papers, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Squazzoni, Flaminio (Ed.) 5466:117-129 (2009)
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Abstract

The terms ‘verification’ and ‘validation’ are widely used in science, both in the natural and the social sciences. They are extensively used in simulation, often associated with the need to evaluate models in different stages of the simulation development process. Frequently, terminological ambiguities arise when researchers conflate, along the simulation development process, the technical meanings of both terms with other meanings found in the philosophy of science and the social sciences. This article considers the problem of verification and validation in social science simulation along five perspectives: The reasons to address terminological issues in simulation; the meaning of the terms in the philosophical sense of the problem of “truth”; the observation that some debates about these terms in simulation are inadvertently more terminological than epistemological; the meaning of the terms in the technical context of the simulation development process; and finally, a comprehensive outline of the relation between terminology used in simulation, different types of models used in the development process and different epistemological perspectives.

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