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Algorithms Overview

This section is about what computer programs (or humans with pencil and paper and a lot of work) can do with Valueflows economic networks once they are constructed on the Web or in a database.

Network-based algorithms

  • Dependent Demand constructs schedules for operational economic networks from recipes
    • Many other scheduling algorithms can be used over the same recipes.
    • Gantt charts are a popular network schedule visualization. gantt chart example
    • Critical Path is another scheduling algorithm that analyzes a network of processes to figure out the bottlenecks, the processes that need special attention.
  • Value Rollups summarize the total value of all inputs to the resulting output from a recipe.
  • Value Equations determine how income should be distributed according to contributions to a deliverable item.
  • Track and Trace follow the path of a resource forwards (to where it went) and backwards (where it came from, and what other resources went into it).
  • Provenance is like Trace, focusing on the path of a resource and all of the other resources that went into it.
  • Cash Flow is mostly about money, but could also apply to other resources, looking at the inflows and outflows on a timeline, historical in the past, forecasted in the future.
  • Economic and Ecosystem Analysis:

  • Network Flows is a general name for all of those algorithms and many many more. See Flow Networks on Wikipedia and elsewhere.

There are similarities and differences among the algorithms:

  • Scheduling algorithms and cash flows use time-phasing: placing planned or reported events on a timeline.
  • Dependent Demand schedules backwards from an end date; Critical Path schedules forwards from a start date.
  • Dependent Demand does an explosion: breaking down the end resource of a recipe into a tree of components and processes.
  • Value Rollups do an implosion: summarizing all the inputs of the exploded tree of components and processes into a total value.
  • The Economic and Ecosystem algorithms use Input-Process-Output Models
  • All of those algorithms work on flow networks, otherwise known as directed graphs, composed of nodes and links between them.

flow network diagram

Agent-based algorithms