Teaching Club

The aims of the Simile Teaching Club

Simile is used in over sixty institutions of higher education world-wide for teaching. The main aim of the Simile Teaching Club is to encourage the spread of systems thinking in the next generation. Teachers and their students benefit by having access to powerful and intuitive software for systems modelling. We benefit by raising awareness of Simile in educational and research institutions, and through the accumulation of teaching resources based on Simile.

Benefits of joining the Simile Teaching Club

Membership of the Simile Teaching Club is open to anyone who has purchased a licence for the Standard or Enterprise Editions of Simile, and who is engaged in teaching modelling at secondary school, undergraduate or Masters level. Membership entitles you to a free copy of the Teaching Edition, which can be distributed to all students in nominated courses. The Teaching Edition is identical to the Standard Edition except that models are limited to 50 equations.

We would like this space to become a resource centre where members of the Simile Teaching Club can access the teaching resources provided by others.   These may include models, handouts and presentations. 

How to join the Simile Teaching Club

To join the Simile Teaching Club, please go to the Groups page. When requesting membership please give a summary of the teaching course(s) you wish to use Simile for.  For each course, please give the course name, level (high school, undergraduate, postgraduate) and approximate number of students.

Conditions of membership

Membership is subject to the following guidelines and conditions on the use of the software: the continued existence of the Club depends on members respecting these conditions. Clicking on the 'Join' button at the bottom of the request form signifies that you accept and agree to abide by these conditions. On receipt of your application, we will send you a password to access our secure download area.

  • Membership of the club is open to all licensed users of Simile: i.e. the student licence for Simile is free, but the class instructor is required to purchase a licence if he/she does not already have one.
  • Within this club, Simile is provided for class teaching use only. This may include small projects undertaken by all the members of the class. For any other use, including research use by staff or Ph.D. students and major individual projects by students within undergraduate or Masters programmes, please contact Simulistics for details of the appropriate licence. Please note that we provide a free Evaluation Edition, should any of your colleagues be interested in learning Simile. This is fully functional, and limited only in the size of model that can be built (approximately 25 equations).
  • Please distribute Simile only to those students taking your course. This may be done by whatever means is most convenient: e.g. from a departmental server, or on CD-ROM.
  • Simulistics is unable to respond to requests for support from your students. We ask you to deal with these requests, and to pass on to us details of any recurrent problems, and any errors or omissions from the documentation.
  • We encourage you to make the Simile-based resources you develop for your course available to the global community. These could include teaching models, lecture notes and practical handouts. Please support our commitment to keep Simile free for educational use by sending us any material generated for your course, or by publishing it on the Web.
  • To assist us in continuing to improve Simile, we ask you to send us bug reports and suggestions for new features.

Sharing your own Simile-based teaching material with others

If you have Simile-based teaching material, such as models, handouts or presentations, that you would like to make available for others to use in their own courses, please go to the Simile Teaching Resources page, and either provide a link to your own web site containing the material, or create a new page and add the material to this page.   Alternatively, please contact Robert Muetzelfeldt, at robertm <at> ed.ac.uk.  Thanks!

Introduction to Simile

Here's a pdf document which I'm going to use as the basis of a practical class to introduce Simile and how it can be used to develop and analyse a model. It is aimed at undergraduate biology/ecology students whoc will have little if any programming experience and even less mathematics.

This is the first time I've written anything like this. If people see potential pitfalls in the approach or ways to improve the description to make it clearer then I'd like to hear about it.


Hannon, B & Ruth, M 1997 "Modelling dynamic biological systems" (Springer, New York)

Attached are the models (and output interfaces) from some of the chapters in the book by Hannon and Ruth.

Hannon, B & Ruth, M 1997 "Modelling dynamic biological systems" (Springer, New York)


Chapter 2 has some simple population growth models

Chapter 3 has some stochastic population growth models where death rate is a random variable

Chapter 4 has some population models with time lags that show chaotic behaviour

Chapter 7 has a model for a catalyzed reaction, which could describe enzyme dynamics.


Null models in statistics

Here are a couple of Simile models which try and show that statistical inference is largely about comparing data against the output of a null model. In statistical text books the null model is not usually mentioned explicitly. Instead the null hypothesis, and the the assmptions of a test are presented, but the null hypothesis and the assumptions are really specifying an underlying null model.

These two Simile models look at a t-test (actually a paired t-test) and a one-way ANOVA. They use the same data set, which comprises two samples, each with 20 observations.

Grant and Swannack, 2008, "Ecological modelling: A common-sense approach to theory and practice" (Blackwell, Oxford)

Attached are the three toy models used in the book by Grant and Swannack.

The "hunter-gatherer" model (Example 1),

the "population extinction" model (Example 2)

and the "managing the commons" model (Example 3).

Each model has a .sml file with the model in it and a .shf file with the output interface.

This material will form part of an undergraduate course on ecological modelling, to be run at University College Dublin, so any feedback would be very much welcomed.

Simile Teaching Resources

This is the hub for accessing Simile teaching resources provided by members of the Simile Teaching Club.

Syndicate content