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A New Graphical User Interface Generator for Economic Models and its Comparison to Existing Approaches


  • Britz, Wolfgang


The paper discusses the role of Graphical User Inter-faces in economic modelling and specifically the de-velopment of a new Graphical User Interface Genera-tor for applications realized in GAMS (General Alge-braic Modelling System), a widely used Algebraic Modelling Language for (bio-)economic simulation models. It motivates the development of GGIG (Gams Graphical Interface Generator) by reviewing existing approaches. In opposite to frameworks available for environmental and Agent Based Modelling, GUI ge-nerators for more classical economic models seem to be scarce. GGIG aims at a fast development process not requiring programming skills where simple user operable controls are defined in an XML file such that GAMS based projects can add easily a GUI. It com-prises quite versatile exploitation tools for interactive reporting (tables, graphs and maps) including a ma-chine learning package plus useful utilities, e.g. to generate a HTML based GAMS code documentation or batch execution. In opposite to other approaches, GGIG strictly separates the GUI and GAMS code, but does not offer IDE functionality. Applications to CAPRI, a rather complex model, and some smaller projects seem to show that researchers without formal programming training are able to develop and modify a GUI for their models, while model users can be quickly trained in GGIG based GUIs.Der Aufsatz diskutiert die Bedeutung Grafischer Benutzeroberflächen in der ökonomischen Modellie-rung, insbesondere die Entwicklung eines neues Werkzeugs zur Erstellung Grafischer Oberflächen für Anwendungen basierend auf GAMS (General Algebraic Modelling System), einer weitverbreiteten Algebraischen Modellierungssprache für (bio-)öko-nomische Simulationsmodelle. Er motiviert die Ent-wicklung von GGIG (Gams Graphical Interface Ge-nerator) vor dem Hintergrund eines Überblicks alter-nativer Ansätze. Im Gegensatz zu bestehenden Pro-grammiergerüsten für umwelt- oder agentenbasierte Modellierung scheinen nur wenige Werkzeuge zur Erstellung von Benutzeroberflächen klassischer öko-nomischer Modelle verfügbar zu sein. GGIG zielt auf einen schnellen Entwicklungsprozess, der keine Kenntnisse in der Programmierung voraussetzt und auf der Definition einfacher Bedienelemente in einer XML-Datei basiert, wodurch sich ohne großen Auf-wand eine Nutzeroberfläche zu einem GAMS-Projekt erstellen lässt. GGIG enthält darüber hinaus recht vielseitige Instrumente zur Erzeugung interaktiver Ergebnisauswertungen (Tabellen, Grafiken und Kar-ten) einschließlich eines Paketes maschineller Lern-verfahren sowie zusätzlich Dienstprogramme, z.B. zur Erstellung einer HTML basierten Dokumentation des GAMS-Codes oder zur Batchausführung. Im Gegen-satz zu anderen Ansätzen trennt GGIG klar zwischen dem GAMS-Code und der Nutzeroberfläche, bietet dafür aber auch keine Funktionen einer Integrierten Entwicklungsumgebung an. Die Anwendung von GGIG in CAPRI, einem recht komplexen Modellsys-tem, und einigen kleineren Projekten legen es nahe, dass Forscher ohne formale Programmierkenntnisse mittels GGIG Benutzeroberflächen für ihre Modellen entwickeln und pflegen können, während Modellan-wender sich schnell in die Nutzung der Oberflächen einarbeiten.

Suggested Citation

  • Britz, Wolfgang, 2014. "A New Graphical User Interface Generator for Economic Models and its Comparison to Existing Approaches," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 63(4).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:joiatd:253198

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karen Thierfelder & Scott McDonald, 2012. "Globe v1: A SAM Based Global CGE Model using GTAP Data," Departmental Working Papers 39, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
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    5. Christine Wieck & Simon W. Schlüter & Wolfgang Britz, 2012. "Assessment of the Impact of Avian Influenza–related Regulatory Policies on Poultry Meat Trade and Welfare," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(8), pages 1037-1052, August.
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    8. Lengers, Bernd, 2012. "The choice of emission indicators in environmental policy design: an analysis of GHG abatement in different dairy farms based on a bio-economic model approach," Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, Editions NecPlus, vol. 93(02), pages 117-144, June.
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