A Model Defined

A model is a simplified representation or abstraction of reality. A model can be simple but not represent the true situation.

Models are classified according to their degree of abstraction, into three groups:

Iconic (Scale): An iconic model, the least abstract, is a physical replica of a system, usually based on a different scale than the original. These may appear in three dimensions such as airplane, car or bridge models made to scale or a production line.


Analog: An analog model does not look like the real system but behaves like it. There are usually two-dimension charts or diagrams; i.e. they are physical models, but their shape differs from physical models, but their shape differs from that of the system. Some examples are:
- Organization charts that depict structure, authority and responsibility relationship.
- A map where different colors represent water or mountains.
- Stock market charts.
- Blueprints of a house etc.
Analog models are more abstract than iconic models.

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Mathematical: The complexity of relationships in some system cannot be represented physically, or the physical representation may be cumbersome and take time to construct or manipulate. Therefore, a more abstract model is used with the aid of mathematics. Most MS (or OR) analysis is executed with the aid of mathematical models. They can describe diverse situations and be easily manipulated for purposes of experimentation and prediction.
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