Résumé
MODFLOW is the U.S. Geological Survey modular finite-difference flow model, which is a computer code that solves the groundwater flow equation. The program is used by hydrogeologists to simulate the flow of groundwater through aquifers. The source code is free public domain software, written primarily in Fortran, and can compile and run on Microsoft Windows or Unix-like operating systems. Since its original development in the early 1980s, the USGS has made six major releases, and is now considered to be the de facto standard code for aquifer simulation. There are several actively developed commercial and non-commercial graphical user interfaces for MODFLOW. MODFLOW was constructed in what was in 1980's called a modular design. This means it has many of the attributes of what came to be called object-oriented programming. For example, capabilities (called "packages") that simulate subsidence or lakes or streams, can easily be turned on and off and the execution time and storage requirements of those packages go away entirely. If a programmer wants to change something in MODFLOW, the clean organization makes it easy. Indeed, this kind of innovation is exactly what was anticipated when MODFLOW was designed. Importantly, the modularity of MODFLOW makes it possible for different Packages to be written that are intended to address the same simulation goal in different ways. This allows differences of opinion about how system processes function to be tested. Such testing is an important part of multi-modeling, or alternative hypothesis testing. Models like MODFLOW make this kind of testing more definitive and controlled. This results because other aspects of the program remain the same. Tests become more definitive because they become less prone to being influenced unknowingly by other numerical and programming differences.
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