Humans excel at experimenting, testing and creating devices to assist them in surviving. As technological and social systems have evolved and become more complex, it has been increasingly difficult to test innovations. The method of trial and error for solving problems has become too risky. Making a change at one point may have dramatic and unanticipated consequences at a place far removed in time and space. How can an individual hope to keep track of and test the effects of his or her actions? How can we know whether our efforts to improve the current state are helping or making things worse? We must have better ways to predict the consequences of our actions if we are to make progress in solving key problems in our world.
Our best hope of understanding the complex environments in which we live will come from high-quality mathematical models, capable of accurately anticipating change. Mathematics is a language common across all cultures. Mathematical models can be used to integrate knowledge from a wide variety of sources in both time and space. Mathematical models use the power of computers to help people amplify their creativity and to understand which actions will lead to constructive progress.
Diversity and exchange are the keys to developing high-quality models and generating ideas to be tested. People are currently divided into a myriad of groups, including ethnic, cultural, social, political, gender, and religion. TIDE believes each individual has some handle on truth. The models we develop must integrate the full range of diverse knowledge available. By increasing the exchange of knowledge and ideas among diverse individuals, using mathematical models to reinforce the quality of our thought, we can generate more effective actions to improve conditions.
TIDE's activities are diverse. Each is aimed, however, at the single objective of understanding the existing state, devising alternative strategies for improving it, and creating means for testing the effects of those alternatives prior to implementation: