Harold Guetzkow

This home page is maintained to serve as a repository for information about the use of simulation in the social sciences, in honor of Harold Guetzkow. We will continue to add references as they become available. So should you have items or links that you would like to add to this home page, please send e-mail to Mike Ward

Harold Guetzkow was born in 1915, and grew up during the depression. His father, a construction general contractor, was afflicted with, and ultimately died of, multiple sclerosis. In pursuit of some medical cure, in 1930, his parents took him to Europe where he visited the WWI battlefield sites in Northern France. Harold was deeply troubled by the destruction wrought by that War, which had happened there only a few short years before. How to prevent war? In 1933 he entered where he read and studied widely, with emphasis upon the behavioral sciences. During the War years, Harold grappled with the moral and ethical issues involved in military service, and in 1940 was successful in obtaining convincing his draft board of the profound sincerity of his conscientious objection to military service. Even today, he continues to work with the National Fund for a Peace Tax, so that his tax dollars might not be spent by the military. During his alternative service, he worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps in Michigan and eventually took his psychological skills and experimental bent to the University of Minnesota where he studied the effects of six months of starvation in order to better understand the problems faced when dealing with post-war populations who were starving. His research, with Ancell Keys and Paul Bowman, on these topics was path-breaking.

Now married, he returned to finish his doctoral work at the University of Michigan, Harold took up the topic of problem solving, and once again produced path-breaking work on the topic of frames of reference and changes of context, that remains widely cited today. During the early 1950s, Harold was a faculty member at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at what now is Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked with Herbert Simon, James March, and Richard Cyert on organizational research.

 In 1957, Harold joined the political science department at Northwestern University, where he was to hold the Gordon Scott Fulcher Chair of Decision Making, until his retirement in 1985.

During this time, he worked most closely on the development and testing of the InterNation Simulation, and its computerized descendants.

At Carnegie, Harold got the idea of simulating behavioral science processes while chatting over lunch with atomic physicist colleagues. Nuclear reactions were simulated to save the expense of actual reactor usage; why not apply these ideas to politics? He explored these ideas while on sabbatical at the Center for Advance Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 1956, where he was invited by Richard Snyder to come to Northwestern University. When he first arrived in 1957, he was in three departments: psychology, sociology, and political science. Now he began to explore the InterNation Simulation extensively. Home pages for many ongoing, pedagogical simulations concerned with world politics may be found in the following references:

The modeling problem is essentially dependent upon dimensionalizing the model with relevant metrics, which, if omitted, could invalidate a model. In order to build better models, in recent years, Harold has been working on the topic of ethics and values across the globe as they are seen by and reflected in different cultures. Some links may be found in: We would like this home page to grow, and we invite you back in the future to see its improvements. It will be especially interesting to add a listing of ongoing simulation projects. Also feel welcome to suggest improvements and additions. For adding information or making suggestions, send electronic mail to Mike Ward. As many of you know, Harold Guetzkow received the 1995 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Conflict Processes Section of the American Political Science Association. If you would like to see a copy of the award certificate, look at Lifetime Award.

His son Daniel can be reached electronically and will help serve as a secretary/communications channel for this home page.
Michael D. Ward Tuesday Aug 30 1995; modified January 4, 1996