Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Time Series: Modeling Changing Amounts Over Periods

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

A common modeling requirement in GoldSim is to represent movement of (or changes in) amounts of material over time intervals. Common examples we have seen from our users are flows through a pipe, site runoff, and rainfall amounts. Representing this type of data can be challenging if you are not used to GoldSim's way of explicitly defining data in the Time Series element. I think a reason for this is due to our familiarity with spreadsheets, which do not require explicitly defining how the data is represented.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Top Downloads from the GoldSim Model Library

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

We are continually updating and maintaining models in our Model Library in order to help our customers answer complex questions. You may not be aware but we now have 170 models in our library which are all available for all GoldSim users. These models are either built for a specific application or just to demonstrate a generic functionality of the software. It turns out that our most widely used model examples are application specific.

We track how often each of our models are downloaded and so I thought it might be helpful for you to see which ones are the most popular. Below is a summary of our most popular model library downloads since the inception of our library in early 2013. The models listed below are shown in order of popularity, with our most popular model shown first.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Licensing Tools Coming to GoldSim in Early 2016

Posted by Rick Kossik

Software licensing tools are usually intended to be something that neither the user (you) nor the software vendor (us) want to have to think about often.  In a perfect world, you activate or register your software, and then don't want to have to think about it again for a long time (e.g., perhaps until you upgrade the license or extend the maintenance subscription one year later). Although this is the case for many people, we have found that a growing number of our users want more flexibility and capabilities with how they manage their licenses.  To address this, we've spent the last year implementing a powerful new licensing system that among other things, will make it easier for users to track and share licenses within an organization. In this blog, I provide a quick overview of the new licensing features.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dynamic Coupling of GoldSim and MODFLOW / MT3D

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

From time to time, we hear from GoldSim users asking about the possibility of linking MODFLOW with GoldSim dynamically. This is important because the combined model is useful for integrating accurate groundwater flow and transport models with decision support, hydrologic, and probabilistic models built in GoldSim. Folks at Barr Engineering were able to pull this off using a realistic hypothetical application and presented their application at the poster session of our 2015 User Conference.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

GoldSim Training Course in Tucson in December

Posted by Rick Kossik

I'll be teaming with Dave Hoekstra of SRK Consulting to teach a 3-day course entitled "Developing Mine Water Balances in GoldSim" December 3-5 in Tucson. This course is being held in conjunction with the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration (SME) Arizona Conference. I'll be leading the first two days, which are targeted at people new to GoldSim and will cover basic use of GoldSim. Dave will spend the third day focusing on water balance modeling. If you are already familiar with GoldSim, you can attend just the third day. You can read more about the course and register here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Powerful Decision Making for a Phosphate Mine

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

One of the winners of the 2015 User Conference poster session presented on a GoldSim application for a phosphate mine in central Florida. After reading more about this application, I began to better appreciate the great work that Cardno has been involved in. The phosphate mining industry faces very strict effluent limitations while having to manage several hundred gallons of water around the site every day. The model must account for a continuously changing landscape of flow paths and operating schemes under varying hydrologic conditions. Read about how GoldSim is being used to help the mining company make better decisions as they comply with these changing regulations.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Photos from the User Conference

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

The 2015 GoldSim User Conference was held September 24th and 25th in Seattle and was a big success. Here are some photos showing the highlights of the conference, including the social events and poster presentations. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

GoldSim Model Beauty Contest Winner: Moneyball!

Posted by Rick Kossik

A tradition at our User Conference is to hold a "Model Beauty Contest".  The Beauty Contest is held at the end of the Conference, and is intended to allow our users to focus on the fun side of modeling and simulation.  Beauty Contest entries typically describe a modeling application that is light-hearted (such as a game), amusing (e.g., probabilistically simulating the length of the restroom lines at a football stadium), or simply entertaining. This year's winner (as determined by a vote of attendees) was Joe Donnelly's "Moneyball" model.

Monday, September 28, 2015

GoldSim User Conference Poster Session

Posted by Rick Kossik

We just wrapped up our User Conference in downtown Seattle, and it was lots of fun.  The conference was attended by nearly 60 people from six countries.  In addition to invited papers, a panel discussion, and a day of advanced training, one of the highlights of the conference was the poster session, where attendees presented a wide variety of interesting GoldSim applications. This post provides a list of poster abstracts and presents the winners (as selected by attendees) of the best poster presentation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pre-Conference Training has Started!

Posted by Ryan Roper

The first wave of GoldSim users have arrived to participate in our 2-day pre-conference training course at the Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle. This is a prelude to our 2015 GoldSim User Conference, which will start on Thursday. The night before conference kickoff, attendees (55 in total), coming from six different countries, will enjoy a pre-conference meet-up at the Fado Irish Pub.

Advanced training on the first day of the conference will be a mix of training classes and informal discussions in which attendee participation is encouraged. The day will end with a fun social event on a privately chartered boat ride in the Puget Sound. On the last day of the conference, presentations of invited papers, poster presentations and a panel discussion will provide opportunities for attendees to network, share experiences and participate in interesting discussions.

We expect to have a really great time this week!

Monday, August 24, 2015

GoldSim: The Swiss Army Knife of Simulation Tools

Posted by Ryan Roper

I recently sat in on a great guest webinar (John's Grab Bag of Tips 'n' Tricks) presented by a long-time GoldSim user, John Tauxe, and I was impressed by how he has stretched the bounds of GoldSim's capabilities. At its core, GoldSim is a versatile simulation tool that incorporates probabilistic, discrete events and system dynamics modeling. That alone makes it quite unique among simulation tools. With nearly 40 core elements as well as almost 20 more specialized elements, there is significant flexibility in the way you can model physical, engineered, financial and business systems. If you think about it long enough, there's probably a way to do what you need to do with the built-in elements and modeling capabilities of GoldSim.

But John's webinar also highlighted a whole other world of things that you can do with GoldSim. From internal documentation to graphics drawing tools to dashboards and more, GoldSim is more than just its core simulation capabilities. In the world of simulation tools, it's actually quite like having a corkscrew, nail file, scissors and toothpick on your pocket knife. Here, I want to highlight a few things that stood out to me in John's webinar. I'd also like to make mention of some features of GoldSim that I have used to my advantage in developing a system for automated verification testing of GoldSim. This includes using Spreadsheet elements to export test results to Excel, recording Time Series elements to store expected results for comparison and a batch file to run multiple tests automatically one after the other.

Friday, August 14, 2015

GoldSim in the Academic Community

Posted by Ryan Roper

Most of you are probably aware that GoldSim is used for a wide variety of commercial applications including mine water balance, water resource management, radioactive waste management, project planning and risk and reliability analysis. There are active commercial users in over 50 countries ( In addition to these, however, we have another group of users that you may not be aware of: the academic community. There are GoldSim academic licenses at about 150 universities in over 40 different countries.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Learning to Use GoldSim

Posted by Rick Kossik

I am often asked what is the best way to learn GoldSim. Although GoldSim’s intuitive interface will tempt you to simply dive in and start playing with the software, you are strongly discouraged from doing so, even if you are an experienced modeler.  Spending an hour or so up front (by following a few basic steps) is the quickest and most effective way to understand the software’s features and capabilities and start building models in GoldSim. This blog provides some simple tips.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Examples of Dashboards

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

Do you want to add a dashboard to your GoldSim model but need some ideas on how to design it? Are you looking for ways to improve its functionality and ease of use? If so, maybe some of the examples shown below will give you some useful ideas. In this blog post, I have included screen captures of some models that highlight various approaches to building effective dashboards.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Modeling Runoff from Multiple Catchments using a Vector Splitter

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

If you have some flow of material or a transaction and need to divide it up or allocate it, likely you will use the Allocator or Splitter element in GoldSim. While these elements are very powerful and make the job a lot easier, there is one condition for which it was not specifically built: handling an array of input amounts. To address this, we have added some nice examples to our library that allow you to simulate allocations and splits on arrays of data. These examples provide an easy way to build powerful models that might have otherwise been quite difficult to build and maintain. I tested the array splitter example model using a real-world example that simulates rainfall runoff in a new stormwater management system, and this is described in this post.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Register for the GoldSim User Conference and Training Workshop Before July 31

Posted by Rick Kossik

The GoldSim User Conference is just around the corner.  It will be held in Seattle on September 24 and 25, 2015. The conference will be preceded (on September 22 and 23) by a two day training workshop (focusing on novice users). This training session prior to the conference provides a great opportunity for novice users to get trained and then stick around and meet and learn from experienced users. There is a 50% discount to those who register for the conference before July 31.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Using GoldSim to Simulate Projects

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

The planning and management of programs and large projects is inherently difficult, not only due to their complexity, but also because something almost always goes wrong (Murphy’s Law!). By combining the flexibility of a general-purpose and highly-graphical probabilistic simulation framework with specialized features to support financial modeling and scenario analysis, GoldSim is ideally suited as a high-level project planning tool suitable during the feasibility assessment and conceptual design phases, while the exact scope of the program is still in flux and it is critical to simulate the range of possible outcomes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Probabilistic Risk Assessment of Space Missions Using GoldSim

Posted by Rick Kossik

Many of you are very familiar with how GoldSim has been used for many years to carry out simulations of environmental systems, such as mines, water supply systems and hazardous waste sites. However, because GoldSim was designed as a flexible probabilistic simulation system, there are many cool and interesting applications in a wide variety of other arenas.  Perhaps one of the most interesting is the use of GoldSim for probabilistic risks assessments of space missions.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stakeholder Involvement for Environmental Flow Alternatives

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

Sometimes it is a challenge to involve a diverse audience in the modeling process of a complex system. It is important that you adequately reflect the complexities of the system while at the same time present the results clearly and concisely for people that have different perspectives. Recently, Ryan Morrison (USGS) and Mark Stone (Assistant professor at UNM) were able to leverage the visual and dynamic strengths of GoldSim to successfully involve a diverse group of stakeholders in evaluating flow alternatives for the Rio Chama basin, New Mexico. I wanted to highlight this modeling application because of its unique approach within the world of dynamic simulation and to demonstrate the utility of GoldSim's new scenario management capability.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Playing Mastermind with GoldSim

Posted by Ryan Roper

This last weekend, I went into nerd mode and created a GoldSim version of the classic game Mastermind. If you're not familiar with Mastermind, here's the Wikipedia article about it: Mastermind (board game). According to the article, " a code-breaking game for two players. The modern game with pegs was invented in 1970 by Mordecai Meirowitz, an Israeli postmaster and telecommunications expert. It resembles an earlier pencil and paper game called Bulls and Cows that may date back a century or more." I play this game with my kids and it often leaves me musing about what kind of strategy or algorithm I might devise to more systematically make guesses to solve the code. This musing usually lasts about 5 or 10 minutes before I decide it's not worth my time and I go on with my life. However, recently I thought it would be a fun and interesting exercise to create a GoldSim version of Mastermind.

Monday, May 18, 2015

White Space

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

The way you use white space in your GoldSim expressions can make a significant difference in readability. In this post, I walk through a series of examples that illustrate my personal preferences and pet peeves, which I hope might be useful for you as you establish guidelines within your modeling team.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review of Academic Journal Articles that Refer to GoldSim

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

I recently searched for academic journal articles using Google Scholar to see what kinds of GoldSim applications have been written about in the past year or so. Despite the limitations inherent in this type of search, I was able to compile a reasonable list of modeling application categories. The results of this search returned a surprisingly broad spectrum of use cases in engineering, science and business. I was expecting to see one or two dominant areas of focus but instead found a rather uniform spectrum. Many of the applications incorporated uncertainty and/or decision support, which I was pleased to see.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Customizing GoldSim Element Icons

Posted by Ryan Roper

One of the strengths of GoldSim is that it offers several types of generic elements from which models can be constructed to represent almost any type of physical system. Because of the flexibility in how individual element types can be used as building blocks for complex systems, their default names and icons are generic. Element labels can be changed and element descriptions can be added to better indicate what an element represents. Another way to further customize an element to indicate what it represents is by changing the default element icon to a custom icon.

As an example, the default icon for a Container element is a simple box. But what if that Container represents the operations of a pump or the inventory in a warehouse? You may want to change the icon to a custom one that represents this function or purpose. In this post, we'll show you how to do this and we'll point you to an icon library on our website that already has a number of icons you might like to use.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

GoldSim Applications at the Mine Water Solutions Conference

Posted by Rick Kossik

I've just returned from the Mine Water Solutions in Extreme Environments Conference in Vancouver, BC.  This biennial conference focuses on a wide range of issues associated with mine water management, particularly in extremely wet, dry and cold climates, and with extreme hydrogeological and geochemical issues.  As many of you know, GoldSim is used extensively worldwide for such applications, and as a result, GoldSim was commonly mentioned during the conference.  For example, in one of the keynote sessions, Lisa Wade of GoldCorp (one of the world's largest gold producers), described the company's Water Stewardship Strategy, which it uses to ensure water security and production, reduce costs and impacts, improve operations, and address stakeholder concerns.  During the talk, Lisa mentioned that as part of the Strategy, water management models at the various mine sites are all carried out using GoldSim.  In addition, during the conference a number of technical papers featuring GoldSim were presented. Two such applications are briefly summarized in this post.

Friday, April 3, 2015

American Water Resources Association 2015 Conference

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

I recently traveled to sunny Los Angeles, California for the AWRA 2015 Specialty Conference: "Water for Urban Areas: Managing Risks and Building Resiliency." All of the presentations I listened to were very interesting, some of which used GoldSim as the tool to facilitate the studies and results presented. The highlight of the trip, of course, was to visit with some of our customers and make new friends. I also learned more about some of the unique challenges California is facing due to continued population growth, climate change, water quality conditions, and aging infrastructures.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mark Your Calendar for the GoldSim User Conference in September 2015!

Posted by Rick Kossik

We recently published this in our newsletter, but I thought it would be worthwhile to post here also. After a long hiatus, we plan to host a GoldSim User Conference in Seattle in September 2015.  The conference is just in the planning stages now, but the dates are very likely to be September 24 and 25.  The conference will be preceded (on September 22 and 23) by a two day training workshop (focusing on novice users).

Friday, March 20, 2015

GoldSim Applications at (Radioactive) Waste Management Conference

Posted by Rick Kossik

I've just returned from the Waste Management (WM) Conference in Phoenix, which we attend annually.  This conference attracts thousands of registrants from around the world and is widely regarded as the premier international conference for the management of radioactive material and related topics. As many of you know, although GoldSim is currently used in a wide variety of applications, it was originally developed to support radioactive waste management applications (if you are curious, I discussed this early history in a previous blog post). GoldSim continues to be used extensively worldwide for such applications, and typically during the conference a number of technical papers featuring GoldSim are presented. It is always rewarding and exciting to sit in a technical session at a conference and see how GoldSim has been applied to address an interesting and important problem.  A few such applications discussed at the conference are briefly summarized in this post.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Exploratory Modeling and GoldSim

Posted by Nick Martin

There is an interesting recent journal article, “Exploratory Modeling: Extracting Causality From Complexity” (Larsen et al. 2014), which describes the usefulness and success of exploratory modeling in the earth sciences. Although this article does not mention GoldSim, it provides a nice explanation of modeling philosophies which work well in GoldSim. These philosophies emphasize a “top-down” approach to modeling complex systems and focus on the representation of uncertainty in addressing “big-picture” issues.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Generic Mine Water Balance Model

Posted by Nick Martin

We frequently get requests for an example Mine Water Balance model with dashboards that can be used in sales presentations and as a technical demonstration tool. Recently, a GoldSim Mine Water Balance Model has been posted to the Model Library which fulfills these requirements.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Simulating a One-Armed Bandit

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

If you ever run into GoldSim employees in Las Vegas, you will never see them sitting in front of a slot machine. Dealing with probabilities on a daily basis gives us a feel for our odds when dealing with uncertainty. But what if we built a model that only simulates the one-armed bandit? This is the question I asked myself the other day when Rick mentioned the dice-rolling model. What I thought would end up to be a mere exercise in probabilities ended up in a little game that is almost as addicting as solitaire!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Using Period-Based Results in Model Calculations

Posted by Ryan Roper

We've had a number of support inquiries where users need some way of calculating period-based summary data (such as monthly or annual averages or cumulative amounts) for use in other calculations within the same model (e.g. post-processing). GoldSim's reporting periods feature is great for generating this sort of summary data with little effort on the part of the user, but these results are only intended to be viewed and not used for other subsequent calculations. If you do need to use these results for other calculations in the same model, our model library contains a number of examples that illustrate how to calculate such results manually. This blog post briefly describes some of these examples and points you to where you can find them in our library to see them in more detail.

Monday, January 26, 2015

How Big Will Melbourne Australia be in 2035?

Posted by Jason Lillywhite

Many of you may be familiar with GoldSim models that incorporate simple population growth (e.g., in order to compute water demands in the future), but may not have seen complex demographic models that fully incorporate all the details required to accurately simulate the population growth for a large urban area. One of our recently showcased models on our website does just that. It probabilistically simulates the population of the City of Melbourne, Australia for the next 20 years. I found this model to be a highly effective population simulator, and believe the approach could potentially be applied to population forecasts for a variety of models.

Monday, January 19, 2015

On the Road Again...

Posted by Rick Kossik

As we do every year, we will be attending a number of conferences this year, where we will have a booth, and in some cases be presenting papers.  If you are attending one of these conferences, we'd love to see you.  Stop by our booth, where you can meet GoldSim technical staff to ask questions, suggest new features, or just chat. The preliminary list of conferences we plan on attending are listed below:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

GoldSim and Microsoft SQL Server

Posted by Nick Martin

Occasionally GoldSim users are interested in connecting model elements to databases to pull data directly into their models from a database. Recently, there has been increased interest in connecting model elements to Microsoft SQL Server databases.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Performance, Risk Assessment and Miss Atomic Bomb 1957

Posted by Rick Kossik

I recently attended the Performance and Risk Assessment Community of Practice (P&RA CoP) Annual Technical Exchange Meeting in Las Vegas. This group is part of the effort by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management to support risk-informed environmental cleanup and waste management decisions within the DOE complex.  GoldSim has been used throughout the DOE complex for many years, and it was nice to see a number of excellent GoldSim applications discussed during the meeting. As a side note, the meeting was held at a very interesting location - the National Atomic Testing Museum - which is definitely worth a visit the next time you are in Las Vegas and need a break from the Strip!