Computational Perspectives IV

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Varying Consumer Demand

Note: in order to run the simulation referred to in this slide, go here, to the Java Applet version. You will be directed to download the latest version of the Java plug-in.

In the last slide we saw the disastrous effects of poor information transfer in a market supply chain. Essentially, the problem lies in the fact that the Wholesale and Production units do not have direct access to consumer demand. The resulting informational delays lead to poor coordination of all three units, and Consumer's signal gets distorted and magnified as it travels further and further down the chain.

The simulation to your left is identical to the one you've already seen, except this time you may alter consumer demand as you wish, to observe a variety of different oscillations.

Consumer demand is a function of time specified in the text box above the simulation. The default one may be translated from Minischeme as follows: if current time step is 2 or greater, the demand is at 6; for earlier time steps, the demand is at 4. This corresponds to a discrete jump in Consumer demand we saw previously.

Try restarting the simulation, after setting a different consumer demand. For instance, you may modify the default slightly by removing '>' from the 'if' statement, resulting in: (if (= (time) 2) 6 4). This corresponds to a "spike" in the demand function, which should produce a different, yet no less persistent, oscillation pattern.

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