This week I have mostly been bashing my head against M366 TMA01 Q4, the bit about choosing a good heuristic. It took me quite a while just to get my head around what the question is actually asking for, let alone actually answering it! So now after three days of going around and around in circles trying to figure out how to choose a heuristic for this problem, I’ve finally got one – it’s probably not a particularly good one, but hopefully it’s better than the example “poor” heuristic from the previous subsection, and in any case it’s very prettily laid out using Word’s Equation Editor tool, so I’m happy.

I’ve been able to move on to the next bit of the question, at last, which involves heavy use of NetLogo’s BehaviourSpace. I quite enjoyed the BehaviourSpace bit of the M366 Software Guide exercises – it’s great being able to get the simulation data in csv format, and hence into Excel, which feels very much like my home turf since I spend most of my time at work producing spreadsheets. It feels a bit weird to be using Excel stuff for something OU-related, but overall I’m really glad we’re doing this kind of statistical work; I like the emphasis on running simulations several times to build up a reliable picture of the likely outcome, and to be honest, anything that encourages people to use or develop their spreadsheet skills is a good thing in my book!

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