A computer simulation, a computer model, or a computational model is a computer program, or network of computers, that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system. Computer simulations have become a useful part of mathematical modeling of many natural systems in physics (computational physics), astrophysics, chemistry and biology, human systems in economics, psychology, social science, and engineering.
Simulation of a system is represented as the running of the system's
model. It can be used to explore and gain new insights into new technology, and to estimate the performance of systems too complex for analytical solutions.
Computer simulations vary from computer programs that run a few
minutes, to network-based groups of computers running for hours, to
ongoing simulations that run for days. The scale of events being
simulated by computer simulations has far exceeded anything possible (or
perhaps even imaginable) using traditional paper-and-pencil
mathematical modeling. Over 10 years ago, a desert-battle simulation, of
one force invading another, involved the modeling of 66,239 tanks,
trucks and other vehicles on simulated terrain around Kuwait, using multiple supercomputers in the DoD High Performance Computer Modernization Program Other examples include a 1-billion-atom model of material deformation (2002); a 2.64-million-atom model of the complex maker of protein in all organisms, a ribosome, in 2005; and the Blue Brain project at EPFL (Switzerland), begun in May 2005, to create the first computer
simulation of the entire human brain, right down to the molecular level.