Model Complexity

The WUR develops many simulation models and spatial data bases for applications in prediction and policy evaluation. The complexity of these products has increased significantly over the years. This project is aimed at evaluating the reasons and effects of increased model complexity.

In this project it is investigated if the complexity of these models and data bases is well-balanced in view of the application. For this, an evaluation list has been developed around the introduced concept 'equilibrium': a model or data base should be complex enough to provide output within uncertainty boundaries desired by the application of the model or data base, while this complexity should have sufficient support from available data and is minimized within limiting conditions (like technical limitations, utility, etc.).

Apart from the academic interest, the results of this project will eventually also be used in the model quality assurance.

Project output

Please note, that part of the project output is in Dutch only. This is indicated when applicable.

Van Voorn, G.A.K., D.J.J. Walvoort, P.W. Bogaart, M. Knotters, H. Houweling, P.H.M. Janssen (2012). Are application models too complex? - A list for evaluation of model complexity. In prep. for Environmental Modelling & Software.

Van Voorn, G.A.K., D.J.J. Walvoort, P.W. Bogaart, M. Knotters (2012). In Dutch: Complexiteitsbeoordeling van de Natuurplanner en andere modellen en databestanden. In prep. as internal report for WOT.

An evaluation list for model complexity assessment. 31st Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control, Heijderbos, Heijen/Nijmegen, the Netherlands, March 27-29, 2012.

Van Voorn, G.A.K., D.J.J. Walvoort, M. Knotters, P.W. Bogaart, H. Houweling, P.H.M. Janssen (2011). In Dutch: Een beoordelingslijst voor de complexiteit van modellen en bestanden. WOT-paper 11

Van Voorn, G.A.K., D.J.J. Walvoort (2011). Evaluation of an evaluation list for model complexity. WOT working document 272

P.W. Bogaart, G.A.K. van Voorn & L.M.W. Akkermans (2011). In Dutch: Evenwichtsanalyse modelcomplexiteit - een verkennende studie. WOT working document 226

In Dutch: Hoe complex moeten onze bestanden en modellen zijn? PBL, March 22, 2011, Bilthoven (NL).


An evaluation list as model selection aid - finding models with a balance between modelcomplexity, data availability and model application. All models are wrong... March 14-16, 2011, Groningen, NL. Abstract Talk

In Dutch: Evaluation of Model Complexity. April 27, 2010, Kennismarkt WOt, Wageningen, NL.