A model is a computer-generated approximation or representation that behaves or operates like a real-world process or problem, thereby enabling the prediction of behavior based on a set of parameters and conditions.
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- Models enable predictive planning (such as calculating evacuation zones for hazardous plumes or impending inclement weather).
- Models allow responders and decision makers to plan for and focus resources where the greatest need or threat exists as well as to protect responders and the public from hazards. Since these are complex decisions, the ability to work through possible scenarios in advance improves coordination and response time.
- Dueling algorithms – a model is programmed to act in particular way given particular inputs. If these algorithms vary from or do not account for factors present in real life (varying wind direction, terrain, flying debris), the results of the model may be inaccurate and can give decision makers a false sense of security.
- Misrepresentation of data and false information – at best, models predict “possibilities” not “realities”.