Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I asked this question using games as the example (hoping it would be more likely to have been done), it was closed as being off topic so let me ask it this way...

Has anyone used a spreadsheet to model a complex, changeable system (something like crowd behaviour, weather systems, a closed ecology, evolution or whatever) and if so, can you point me at it?

I'm hoping for a normal (albeit complex) spreadsheet using the spready's inbuilt formulae and functions rather than something specially coded. I'm also after something where it's possible to change the variables and see the changed outcome - perhaps the variables change using random numbers or the like.

share|improve this question
this is a much more intersting question than the former, but it's much more suited to a discussion forum. at minimum, as a poll-style question, it needs to be community wiki. – quack quixote Apr 24 '10 at 14:56
Many spreadsheet applications can be instrumented with script languages, e.g. Microsoft Office has VB. Most applications will be internal though (think accountanting applications in financial firms, scripting done by programmers). – Benjamin Bannier Apr 24 '10 at 16:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

One good example is the Charles Komanoff traffic simulation in Excel.

You can read about it on wired, and download it from here.

share|improve this answer

Spreadsheets are not designed to handle that amount of data. You're better off with a MySQL database and a purpose built application.

share|improve this answer
Voted down as it doesn't answer my question and give an example as other answers have done. It also assumes I want to create such a thing which isn't what I said. Thanks for the response anyway. – andygrunt Oct 12 '10 at 12:09

Had a bit of a brainwave and Googled 'daisy world spreadsheet' after seeing a documentary on James Lovelock talking about his Gaia theory and how he modelled a simple ecology (Daisy World) to help prove it.

It resulted in this link to a spreadsheet that models Daisy World - just the sort of thing I'm after. No need for data heavy databases or purpose built apps, just a cleverly modelled system using a standard spreadsheet.

Any more examples along similar lines (or more complex) would be appreciated.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .