Collaborative Modeling

Modular model architecture becomes especially attractive when models are part of a collaborative, participatory modeling process. In this case stakeholders are engaged in the modeling process, and the model itself becomes a tool for deliberations, joint knowledge building, understanding, and decision making. Modularity is very promising in this context because it offers much transparency to the process and allows 'on-the-fly' modifications to the overall modeling structure to accommodate the needs and desires of the stakeholder community.

The idea of collaborative modeling is vital to the future success of the modeling enterprise: providing ways in which different scientists can work together, perhaps within a shared space. Some new technologies on the horizon offer possibilities for collaborative modeling. In particular, the domain of multiuser games and environments allow an arbitrary number of participants to interact with shared objects. These environments are 'object-oriented' by their very nature since 'in world', one has an inventory composed of objects and each object contains scripts used to identify behaviors that the object can adopt. However, it is still important to realize that modular collaborative modeling goes beyond the software challenges. In addition to new software tools, it requires acceptance of new research paradigms promoting open source and open model development, data sharing and participatory modeling efforts.

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