Creating an Account
Start by creating an account at https://silico.app. Silico has a free Community tier, please see the Account Types page for information on different accounts available their respective features.
Creating your first project
After you've created an account, you can create a first project. As described in the Home Area Overview, you can click the New Project button at the top left to open the New project dialog.
The key things to define for any project are:
- Name: The human friendly name for your project and used in the interface
- Project Slug: The short-name used in the url for your project, which must be unique to your account, and cannot be be changed.
Additional configuration options are then:
- Project Description: A short description shown alongside your project, e.g. in your home area.
- Target Account: Which account to create the project within, i.e. if you're a member of any organisation(s).
- Public: Whether the project is public or not. Community tier accounts have a single private project. See How can I share my project with others? for more information on project publicity/sharing options.
The Model Workspace
Once you've created your project, you'll be placed into the model workspace for your new project.
The Right-Click Menu
Right clicking anywhere on the workspace will bring up this menu.
For this quickstart guide, let's have a look at the first three. Click on Create Variable to add your first simulation element to the workspace.
Click on this variable, to bring up the element inspector on the right-hand side of the workspace.
Go ahead and create a formula for this variable. For full documentation on writing formulae, please see the Formulae or Functions pages. I've used the ramp() function and passed it a value of 5, which means that the value of this variable increases by 5 each time step.
Now let's add a Flow - using either the right-click menu, or simply by pressing the 'f' key on your keyboard. We can then link the variable to our flow by clicking and dragging from near the variable (the halo which appears on hover) onto the Flow.
We can now use the variable inside the formula for the flow. This works a bit like a cell reference in a spreadsheet, only the arrows mean that we can see the relationship between these two elements, and makes it much less likely that we'll make a mistake!
To use the reference to Variable 1, simply click where it appears under the formula bar, and Silico will automatically add a reference. You can also type a double quote, and you'll get a list of names you can auto-complete, selecting with arrow keys and enter.
Autocomplete list. This also works with functions, e.g. 'm' will show max, min, and others
Next, add a Stock. Stocks are accumulated (or depleted) through time in a simulation, by the flows connected to them. See Core Simulation Elements for more in-depth documentation on Stock and Flow behaviour. You can connect your Flow to the Stock by clicking and dragging the green flow link onto the Stock. Silico continually runs your simulation as you make changes, so when the flow is connected you'll instantly see the result.
Adding simulation elements, modifying formulae, and connecting elements are the core actions you will undertake in Silico. As you get comfortable building simple models, you can start to explore some of the more advanced features in Silico:
- Organise and modularise project with Panels and Modules, see Project Structure
- Reuse and re-parameterise parts of your model with [Submodels]
- Define your own non-linear functions with [Lookup Tables]
- Add interactive dashboards to present and explore your model with Dashboards
As you build confidence working with these elements you will see that you are quickly able to build complex simulation models logically and intuitively. You can have a look at one of the many public projects developed by the Silico community for insipiration. Here's a current example of a simple COVID-19 model: https://silico.app/@sheetless/covid-19-transmission/app
You can use the "Save As" action to add any public model to your own dashboard if you would like to extend or modify it.
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