FINDING LOST HIKERS: The most important variables for modeling the success of a search are the likelihood of detection and the likelihood of the person slipping past the searchers into a previously searched and cleared area. Using a computer model that analyzes the probability of a lost hiker's behavior, the program estimates where rescuers should go to find that person. The program even estimates the behavior of the lost person based on various factors, including culture.
ABOUT COMPUTER MODELING: Computer modeling is used to simulate the structure and appearance of both static objects, such as building architecture, and dynamic situations, such as a football game. Computer models can enable the user to test the consequences of choices and decisions. They can provide cutaway views that let you see aspects of an object that would be invisible in the real artifact, as well as visualization tools that can provide many different perspectives. Physical models that reproduce behavior are limited by the physics of the world, while computer models have much looser bounds. Physical models of living things can reproduce very few behaviors, compared to simulation models, and physical models simply cannot capture the sorts of species-level and conceptual-level phenomena that artificial life and artificial intelligence models do. Computer models enable you to run companies and civilizations, fight battles, play football games and evolve new species.
The American Mathematical Society , the Mathematical Association of America and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.