Dynamic Change Arcs to Explore Model Forecasts
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Dynamic Change Arcs to Explore Model Forecasts

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  • Journal Title:
    Computer Graphics Forum
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    In many planning applications, a computational model is used to make predictions about the effects of management or engi-neering decisions. To understand the implications of alternative scenarios, a user typically adjusts one or more of the inputparameters, runs the model, and examines the outcomes using simple charts. For example, a time series showing changes inproductivity or revenue might be generated. While this approach can be effective in showing the projected effects of changes tothe model’s input parameters, it fails to show the mechanisms that cause those changes. In order to promote understanding ofmodel mechanics using a simple graphical device, we propose dynamic change arcs. Dynamic change arcs graphically revealthe internal model structure as cause and effect linkages. They are signed to show both positive and negative effects. We imple-mented this concept using a species interaction model developed for fisheries management based on a system of Lotka-Volterraequations. The model has 10 economically important fish species and incorporates both predation and competition betweenspecies. The model predicts that changing the catch of one species can sometimes result in changes in biomass of anotherspecies through multi-step causal chains. The dynamic change arcs make it possible to interpret the resulting complex causalchains and interaction effects. We carried out an experiment to evaluate three alternative forms of arcs for portraying causalconnections in the model. The results show that all linkage representations enabled participants to reason better about complexchains of causality than not showing linkages. However, none of them were significantly better than the others. Categories and Subject Descriptors (according to ACM CCS) : H.5.2 [Information Interfaces and Presentation]: User Interfaces— Interactions Styles 1. Introduction In more and more design applications, a model is used to make pre-
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    Computer Graphics Forum, 35(3), 311-320
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