• Uncertainty reduction is less plausible in models of human behavior than in models of physical phenomena. Structures and processes can undergo rapid change, making adaptation a key feature of a model and its users.

  • Combined models using different approaches and distinct behavioral domains must be linked carefully to ensure effectiveness.


The committee recommended that the sponsor fund cross-disciplinary research programs focused on representative challenges in IOS modeling, using common datasets. In addition, research efforts should be expanded in six specific areas to advance modeling capabilities in the long term:

  • Theories for basic social behaviors need to be more fully developed to provide the basis for models of large-scale social patterns.

  • Basic research is needed to address challenges particular to IOS modeling, such as how models can capture human adaptation over time through learning, rational and irrational behavior, and the effects an individual’s competing allegiances have on decision making.

  • Data collection methods are in need of development and refinement.

  • More investigation into federated models is needed in order to ascertain which components of a model should be linked and which should be encapsulated, how different classes of models should be linked to one another, and so forth.

  • New, clear guidelines should be established for validation standards based on the IOS model’s goals and purpose. The standard of “validation for action” would be distinct from the standard currently used for models in the physical sciences.

  • Model building should be facilitated through the construction and ongoing maintenance of national Web-accessible data repositories and an online catalog of general approaches, models, simulations, and tools for developers.

Finally, the committee recommended that researchers, developers, and government representatives meet regularly at multidisciplinary workshops and conferences to compare and exchange results. This would facilitate collaboration and growth in the currently fragmented field of IOS modeling and accelerate progress on some of the above listed challenges.

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