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This talk is the antithesis of most talks proposed for the conference, because it is not focused on advancing the state of the art by creating more sophisticated tools. Rather this talk focuses on the fallacy of arbitrarily using complex sophisticated tools and the power of using simple tools. Using complex inadequately supported models gives a false sense of precision when, in fact, the use of simple tools providing approximate answers are often more appropriate and more reliable. This paper provides a conceptual framework for evaluating appropriate model complexity. It will discuss how to integrate issues of data limitations, resources constraints, management needs, and scientific uncertainty into the selection of a proper modeling tool. It will contrast how reliability, accuracy and precision change with added levels of complexity dependent on resource limitations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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