Archive for the ‘isee NetSim’ Category

What’s New in isee NetSim 1.1?

May 17th, 2010 No comments

netsim_app_iconLast week, we released version 1.1 of the isee NetSim software.  isee NetSim enables iThink and STELLA users to publish their models online so anyone can run them in a web browser.  Version 1.1 introduces several new features.  In this post I will share a couple of those that I am most excited about.

Forio Simulate—Like YouTube for Simulations

Since the debut of the isee NetSim software we have collaborated with Forio Business Simulations to provide free hosting for models published online.  Last year, I saw a demo of Forio’s new simulation service, Forio Simulate, in the early development stage.  It was awesome.  I couldn’t believe it—they added all of the Web 2.0 features I’d been dying for, and a slick, fun to use interface.  I knew we had to make isee NetSim work with it.

The new service is social by nature—it features keyword tagging, ratings, comments and built-in model sharing.  It’s like YouTube for simulations.  You can browse simulations and games that others have created, find similar ones by keyword tags, and embed simulations on blogs or web pages.  So you don’t have to be actively publishing your own simulations, or even be a modeler to get a lot of value from the site.  In fact, it’s a great way to introduce people to modeling and simulation.  Just post a link!

And if you are a modeler, you can get even more out of the service.  Most of the simulations published to Forio Simulate allow you to download or copy the underlying model that powers it.  Here at isee, we’ve uploaded the original iThink and STELLA models used to create all of our sample isee NetSim simulations.  That way anyone can run the simulation online in a browser and download the source model to dig into if they want more.  Take a look at isee systems’ models published on Simulate by clicking on the screen shot below.

The simulation overview page allows anyone to download the source model, rate, comment, add tags and embed the simulation on other web pages.

Anyone can use free hosting on Forio Simulate if the model contains 400 or fewer equations and is shared with other users of the service.  If you want to protect the model, resell a simulation, use a custom URL, etc., you can sign up for a premium hosting plan.  It’s easy to select a hosting plan when you upload your model with isee NetSim.

Graphical Input Device

Graphical Input Device, or, GID

Use the GID to change the price assumption

One of the most requested features for isee NetSim has been the graphical input device, or “GID” as we like to call it.  GIDs offer a simple way to allow people running your simulation to change the model assumptions.  Often it’s easier to sketch a curve of the behavior of a variable than to input numbers directly.

For example, the model below is a generic renewable-resource model that enables you to experiment with yield and price of a renewable-resource via GIDs.  The model is from our “Thinking in Systems” online course.  I published the model to Forio Simulate and then embedded it here.  Click the “Review model” link to take a brief tour of the model.

You can change the price elasticity and “yield per unit capital” curve by first clicking on one of the GIDs.  A window will pop open that displays the details of the curve.  Click and drag within the grid to draw a new curve.  Press “Ok” to apply the changes.  Take a few moments to play around with the model below.

[Editor’s note:  If you cannot see the embedded model below because you are reading this post in a feed reader or email, please visit the post page here]

What I find interesting after playing with this model is what happens when you start to push the yield up.  At some point the efficiency improves to the point where the renewable-resource gets completely wiped out.  Sometimes the inefficiencies of harvesting a resource can be a good thing—it gives the resource time to “catch up”.  This may be a useful point to consider when thinking about sustainable systems.  What happens when you make the resource inexpensive?

A GID for the web

You may have noticed that the GID within isee NetSim does not allow a user to type numbers to define data points or change the x and y ranges.  We decided this simpler version of the GID was a good fit for models published to the web and would cover most use cases.  The GID allows users to easily change the assumptions by sketching a behavior pattern and not really concern themselves with the data.

If you’ve been dying to publish models with GIDs online, now is your chance.  While you’re at it, check out Forio Simulate and start contributing to the growing simulation community.  You can download a trial of isee NetSim 1.1 here.  If you already own isee NetSim, visit your “My Software” page on the isee systems website to download the upgrade.

What’s New in isee NetSim 1.0.2?

June 16th, 2009 No comments

isee netsim icon

Along with the iThink/STELLA 9.1.3 release, we are happy to announce the isee NetSim 1.0.2 update.  We have fixed many issues and also added a few features:

  • Expanded Support for Navigation Buttons — Navigation buttons now support options to “Restore All Devices”, “Restore Graphs/Tables”, and “Switch Variable On or Off”.
  • Print Interface — Support for the “Print” menu button has been added so that users can now print the current NetSim interface page.
  • Edit Text Boxes — Text boxes that do not have the “Lock Text” option enabled are now editable so that you can provide an input form for users. Coupled with the “Print” menu button, students can now print out their responses to online assignments.
  • Proxy Server Support — Users with an Internet proxy server connection can now configure their isee NetSim Wizard installation to publish models on the web.
  • Trial Version — We are excited to offer a 30-day trial version of isee NetSim.  If you currently don’t own isee NetSim, click here to download the trial.

If you are a current isee NetSim owner, you can login and download the update now on your My Software page.  If you want all the nitty-gritty details, take a look at the complete release notes here.

Categories: isee NetSim Tags: , ,

What’s New in isee NetSim 1.0.1

February 10th, 2009 No comments

Typically when software moves from version 1.0 to 1.0.1, the minor release mostly consists of bug fixes.  I’m happy to say that isee NetSim 1.0.1 is not all about bug fixes, (though we have fixed a lot of issues and increased performance).  This release includes some cool new features too:

Chained Sliders are now supported

Not only did we add the chained sliders to isee NetSim, we improved the behavior and also added some functionality you can use in iThink and STELLA 9.1.2 and isee NetSim.  We have dedicated a separate post to the details and published a NetSim so you can try it out online.

Page size dialog

Page size dialog (click to expand)

Custom Page Sizes

In addition to the fixed screen resolution page sizes, you can now specify a custom page size by choosing the “Other” option.

The fixed options (640×480, 800×600, etc.), represent the target screen resolutions of the computer screens that will be displaying the model.  This is a great option for sizing pages of models distributed with the isee Runtime.  Runtime models are run from a CD-ROM or installed on the users hard drive and these options are great because you know the model will work for the screen size you choose.

Publishing to the web is a different story.  The model runs in a web browser.  Different browsers have different amounts of available display space.  Users may have add-on toolbars that take up more of that space.  They may be running at different screen resolutions too.

With the new custom size option you can configure a page size that works best for your model when running on the web with isee NetSim.  We have found that making the pages wider and making use of horizontal space is a good strategy for publishing to the web.

Print Graphs

Did you notice the little printer icon on the graph? (Well, you can’t see one here — but open up a sample NetSim and you will) Click on the printer icon in a graph in any NetSim and you’ll get a nice print-out.  You can try it out with one of the NetSim sample models.

isee NetSim Wizard prompts for credentials

isee NetSim Wizard prompts for credentials

HTTP Authentication support in isee NetSim Publishing Wizard

If the isee NetSim Server is running on a secure web server, (such as an intranet or extranet that requires authentication), the isee NetSim Publishing Wizard will now prompt for the credentials.  It’ll remember the username and password if you check off the option.  Currently it supports HTTP Basic Authentication.

If you’re scratching your head here wondering what this means, then review the isee NetSim architecture below:

isee NetSim:  How it works

This means you can now allow users to publish (1), to an isee NetSim Server that has HTTP Authentication turned on (2).  Web Users (3) will be prompted by their browser for username and password when they run the NetSim online.

So if you want to secure your published models, or publish them to a secure intranet/extranet, you can with isee NetSim 1.0.1

Display month numbers as month names

Month names in isee NetSim

“Use month names” Option in Tables

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but worth mentioning because a lot of customers wanted this functionality added to tables in isee NetSim. Financial reports look really clean with this option enabled.