The level of detail in simulation models: why does it matter?

Luís Pereirab, Samuel Monizb, Jorge Pinho de Sousaa,b, Américo Azevedoa,b

a – Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, Porto, Portugal
b – INESC TEC, Rua Dr. Roberto Frias, Porto, Portugal

Funding: TEC4Growth. (to be submitted for publication)

The focus of this study is to understand the importance of level of detail in simulation models. The end goal is to support modelers in choosing the adequate level of detail, balancing the trade-offs between accuracy and model performance.
We are dividing this study into stages and stage 1 has the objective of understanding how to assess different levels of detail. To do so, we proposed some metrics and a structured approach to define levels of detail on each critical element of the system. Then, we applied our framework to case studies where we measured the impact different levels of detail had on results.
The next steps in our study will be to define a systematic way to create small scale versions of the problem at hands, evaluate the impact of level of detail on it, extrapolate the findings towards the real system, and suggest the most suitable combination of detail to the decision-maker.