It was originally created by Dr. Barry B. Hughes of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. The model is free to use, and can be accessed in an online version or downloaded for stand alone use. There is extensive documentation of the use of the software in the help system and an online user forum for user questions.
IFs has also been written about by Dr. Hughes in the book Exploring and Shaping International Futures with Evan Hillebrand, along with other reports and publications all of which can be found on the project's website..
There are three main functions to IFs, which each provide users with different opportunities to access historic or forecasted data for different issue areas.
This feature allows users to analyze historic data cross-sectionally, longitudinally or on a world map. Using cross-sectional analysis, users are able to select from over 1,000 historical variables and plot them against up to 5 independent variables. It is then possible to animate the map to see how the cross-sectional relationship changes across the 40+ years of data in the IFs database. Longitudinally, users can plot the relationship between a dependent variable and time, from 1960 through the most recent data year available. The World Map allows users to display data from any of the series.
International Futures allows users to access and change the parameters and variables that are used in the construction and running of the model. By accessing Scenario Analysis, users can create their own global scenario or load a pre-run global scenario based on their field of interest. For example, if you are interested in analyzing the effects of a policy intervention on different sub-models and variables within the model, simply make the changes to the appropriate variable and then analyze the results in comparison to the base-case. Many pre-run scenarios come packaged with the model, including work that has been completed for UNEP and NIC.
This feature of IFs allows users to display the forecasted results of their scenario analyses for different provinces, countries and regions of the globe across different issue areas. Some of the specialized displays include: Population, Educational Attainment, Mortality, World Value Survey, Gini Co-efficient, the Millennium Development Goals, Social Accounting Matrix, Advanced Sustainability Analysis and World Bank Financial Flows.
The model incorporates distinct sub-models which are all dynamically linked. The sub-models incorporated in the IFs model include the following: population, economic, agricultural, educational, energy, socio-political, international political, environmental, health and technologyThe Elements section of the website provides details on these sub-models. .
Additionally, the Help System that accompanies the IFs software provides an extensive overview of the model structure and computer code that was used to write the model.
Pardee Center for IFs
The IFs project recently received a gift from Frederick S. Pardee, formerly of RAND, to construct a Pardee Center for International Futures. The Center will be physically housed on the University of Denver campus. The main responsibilities of The Center will be the further institutionalization of the IFs software, both physical and virtual training sessions, and the continued work on the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) volumes. The first PPHP volume is dedicated to understanding how theories regarding the reduction in global poverty can be understood through the model. The second volume is dedicated to exploring how global education can be improved through IFs. The third volume is aimed at improving systems of health care. These can be explored in draft form on their website.
- ↑ Documentation can be found at http://www.ifs.du.edu regarding the history of IFs, specifically http://www.ifs.du.edu/ifs/IfsWebSite/IFs%20History.htm gives an overview of the different generations of IFs development
- ↑ Paradigm Publishing, 2006
- ↑ http://www.ifs.du.edu
- ↑ http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2020_project.html
- ↑ http://www.ifs.du.edu/ifs/IfsWebSite/Elements.htm
- ↑ http://www.ifs.du.edu/ifs
- ↑ The Pardee Center is virtually housed here: http://www.ifs.du.edu/ifs/IfsWebSite/PardeeCenter.htm
- ↑ http://www.ifs.du.edu/pphp.htm
- ↑ http://www.ifs.du.edu/pphp.htm