4 Pages

Editor’s Introduction

WithSola Pool Ithiel de

Computer simulation is a good tool for steady cumulation and integration of social science. Robert Abelson, Ithiel de Sola Pool, and Samuel L. Popkin the elements that can be included, and the complexity of the relationships of elements to one another, are limited more by human imagination and resources than technology itself; and the same is true of the databanks that can bring the simulations to life. In 1959, Ithiel Pool and Abelson began to explore, at the invitation of the Democratic Party, the capacity of new mainframe computers to include a more complete description of characteristics that might affect voting in the 1960 American Presidential election. In response to the invitation they created the first computer simulation of the American electorate based upon public opinion data. They summarized data from 85,000 respondents to public opinion polls during the 1950s and created a simulation with 480 types of voters.