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Insight Maker's bimonthly newsletter.

Insight Maker 4.0 Released

We are pleased to announce the release of Insight Maker 4.0. The following major features have been added to Insight Maker since version 3.0:

  • Vector Primitives (Arrays): You can now easily vectorize primitives in your models to represent different categories or classes of behavior. (Video Overview)
  • Optimizer: Automatically search through your parameters to find the set of values that best fits historical data or to maximize or minimize some goal.
  • Storytelling: Guide your audience through your model step-by-step. Reveal primitives, expand folders, and provide messages to highlight the key parts of the model.
  • Power Programming: You could always use Insight Maker's equation language to augment Insight Maker's capabilities with new functions. This equation language has now been extended to support Functional and Object Oriented programming. Closures, anonymous functions, prototype-based inheritance, and more; it is all there now.
  • Much More: Many minor improvements, enhancements and optimizations have been made to Insight Maker with a focus on ease-of-use. These include:
    • Improved touch and tablet support,
    • Sketching support for converter graphs,
    • String manipulation support,
    • Improved error messages and error handling,
    • Additional simulation functions,
    • Extended documentation,
    • Primitive rotation and other diagram enhancements,
    • and much more...
These features are added to Insight Makers extensive set of existing modeling and simulation capabilities which include:
  • Web interface to build and runs models without software download needed
  • System Dynamics Modeling
  • Agent Based Modeling
  • Sensitivity Testing Tool
  • Extensive Units Support
  • 1st Order and 4th Order differential equation engines
  • Macros and Scripting Features to extend the capabilities of Insight Maker
  • The ability to share a model as a webpage simply by sending a link
  • Insight Maker is Free and Open Source
  • Wednesday; August 7, 2013

Insight Maker News: May-June

We are excited to update you on what we have been developing with Insight Maker over the past two months. In addition to many minor improvements, we have added one big new feature that we think you will enjoy.

Story Designer: A Better Way to Share your Insights

Sharing a model with someone else in such a way that they come away truly understanding the model can be difficult. In a complex stock and flow diagram, it may be hard to focus on a single part or loop in order to fully comprehend its purpose and meaning. Today, we're happy to share with you a new feature that makes this task much easier.

The Insight Maker Story Designer (pictured above right) lets you created a scripted "unfolding" of a model that takes your audience through the model piece by piece. The tool allows you to hide the visual complexity of the full model and then incrementally reveal this complexity to help an audience learn about the model.

The Story Designer has many other features including showing messages and allowing you to change parameter values and run models. We've created a video overview of this new feature.

Scheduled Server Maintenance

There will be a scheduled Insight Maker server maintenance Sunday, June 23rd from 11 AM to 3 PM Pacific Standard Time. This maintenance will result in improved server performance and reliability. Due to this maintenance, Insight Maker may be inaccessible during part of the scheduled maintenance range.

Featured Insight

Our featured insight this month, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, is from Aesop's fables and demonstrates the new Story Designer. You can use the Story Designer to display your model to others step by step as an unfolding story.

  • Sunday; June 9, 2013

Insight Maker News: March-April

Insight Maker Improvements

Insight Maker has improved support for multiple languages. You can now name primitives using non-latin alphabets and characters with accents. This support for more complex character sets is pervasive throughout Insight Maker. We're also interested in providing Insight Maker to you in your language. If you would like to see Insight Maker in another language, let us know. If you can provide support in translating Insight Maker, that's even better!

Insight Maker sliders now have a step size property. This property allows you to configure the valid values for a slider. For instance if you have a slider representing a year, you could set the step size to one to make sure only exact years could be selected. You can also implement an on-off switch slider using this property.

Featured Insight

This Foraging Model, is a simplistic illustration of several animals foraging within an environment. The model demonstrates the use of Agent-Based Modeling to simulate movement and behavior. Furthermore, the model is a good example of how to have different types of agents interact with each other.

  • Friday; April 19, 2013

Insight Maker News: Jan-Feb 2013

There has been a lot of news about Insight Maker over the past few months. In addition to the catalogue of recent changes here are some things we would like to highlight:

New Powerful Optimizer

Insight Maker now includes a built-in optimization tool. This tool automatically adjusts parameters in your model in order to maximize or minimize some goal. If you've used "Goal Seek" in Excel before, it is the same idea.

Imagine you have a model projecting business growth into the future. You could use the optimizer to adjust your investment strategy to maximize long term profits. Or, as another example, imagine you are trying to create a model to match historical data. You could then use the optimizer to adjust parameters in order to make your model best fit the historical measurements.

Read more about the new optimizer in the Insight Maker Manual or watch a video on it at SystemsWiki.

Blazingly Fast Models

Over the past year, a lot of effort has been put into optimizing the performance of Insight Maker. The core algorithms have been optimized to make them faster and many functions have been rewritten to speed them up. As you will see, the results of this effort are very successful. Compared to the Insight Maker code base a year ago, models should now run between 5 and 20 times as fast as before (the speed up varies based on the characteristics of each individual model). This is especially useful when using the built-in sensitivity testing or the new optimizer.

Featured Insight

The featured Insight for this newsletter is the Game of Life. The Game of Life is a fascinating example of how simple rules can lead to complex emergent behaviors. This Insight Maker model illustrates how to use Agent Based Modeling to recreate the Game of Life using a few simple equations. See Wikipedia for more information of the Game of Life itself.

  • Wednesday; February 6, 2013