A recent discussion on e2e focussed on the efficacy of mobile / wireless simulations. You see, in the world of computer academia, simulations are de rigor to getting a paper through the peer review process, because it can provide you with lots of neat numbers, charts and diagrams that look nice but may mean absolutely nothing in practice. But “in practice” means applied (or horrors, development) work, and that’s usually met with disdain in the academic world (see Academics versus Developers – Is there a middle ground?). In other words, blue sky it but never never build it if you want to get a paper approved.
Simulations and models are an important tool in understanding the behavior of complex systems, and they’re used in most every scientific discipline today. But there’s a delicate distinction between a model of an environment and using the model as the environment — one that is often lost in the artificial world of networks and operating systems.