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of the European Council for Modelling and Simulation



What-If Analysis Through Simulation-Optimization Hybrids


Marco Gavanelli, Michela Milano, Alan Holland, Barry O'Sullivan

Published in:


(2012).ECMS 2012 Proceedings edited by: K. G. Troitzsch, M. Moehring, U. Lotzmann. European Council for Modeling and Simulation. doi:10.7148/2012 


ISBN: 978-0-9564944-4-3


26th European Conference on Modelling and Simulation,

Shaping reality through simulation

Koblenz, Germany, May 29 – June 1 2012


Citation format:

Gavanelli, M., Milano, M., Holland, A., & O'Sullivan, B. (2012). What-If Analysis Through Simulation-Optimization Hybrids. ECMS 2012 Proceedings edited by: K. G. Troitzsch, M. Moehring, U. Lotzmann (pp. 624-630). European Council for Modeling and Simulation. doi:10.7148/2012-0624-0630



This paper proposes to improve traditional what-if anal- ysis for policy making by a novel integration of different components. When a simulator is available, a human ex- pert, e.g., a policy maker, might understand the impact of her choices by running a simulator on a set of scenarios of interest. In many cases, when the number of scenar- ios is exponential in the number of choices, identifying the scenarios of interest might be particularly challeng- ing. We claim that abandoning this generate and test ap- proach could greatly enhance the decision process and the quality of political actions undertaken. In this pa- per we propose and experiment with one approach for combining simulation with a combinatorial optimization and decision making component. In addition, we propose two alternative approaches that can reasonably combine decision making with simulation in a coherent way and avoid the generate and test behaviour.

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