Nature of science - 1.12

The growth in computing power has made modelling much more powerful. Models, usually mathematical, are now used to derive new understandings when no experiments are possible (and sometimes when they are). This dynamic modelling of complex situations involving large amounts of data, a large number of variables and complex and lengthy calculations is only possible as a result of increased computing power. Modelling of the Earth’s climate, for example, is used to predict or make a range of projections of future climatic conditions. A range of different models have been developed in this field and results from different models have been compared to see which models are most accurate. Models can sometimes be tested by using data from the past and used to see if they can predict the present situation. If a model passes this test, we gain confidence in its accuracy.