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Declarative modelling in ecological and environmental research

Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV


Simulation models play a central role in ecosystem research and management. They integrate understanding and enable us to predict future behaviour and to explore alternative policy scenarios. However, there are major problems with current practice, including the cost of developing models, rapid obsolescence, duplication on effort, and opaqueness of model structure. The fundamental reason for this is that models are implemented in a conventional programming language, such as Fortran or C++.

Declarative modelling is emerging as a fundamentally different way of addressing the modelling process. The core idea is to separate the representation of model design (the specification of the model) from the tools used to conduct simulations. Once this has been achieved, the model design can be edited, displayed, interrogated, analysed and transformed in ways impossible using existing approaches.

This publication explores the basic concepts behind declarative modelling, illustrates its feasibility by reference to an existing visual modelling environment, explores its potential utility in large-scale ecosystems research projects, and compares it with the current trend to develop 'integrated modelling frameworks'.

Additional information

Authors: MUETZELFELDT R, University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics, Edinburgh (UK)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20918 EN (2004), 85 pp. Free of charge
Availability: EUR-OP reference: KI-NA-20918-EN-C Available from: Documentation Service of DG Research Fax: +32-2-2958220 E-mail:
ISBN: ISBN: 92-894-5212-9
Record Number: 200417463 / Last updated on: 2004-04-05
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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