Toy model

In the modeling of physics, a toy model is a deliberately simplistic model with many details removed so that it can be used to explain a mechanism concisely. It is also useful in a description of the fuller model.

  • In "toy" mathematical models, this is usually done by reducing or extending the number of dimensions or reducing the number of fields/variables or restricting them to a particular symmetric form.
  • In "toy" physical descriptions, an analogous example of an everyday mechanism is often used for illustration.

The phrase "tinker-toy model" is also used, in reference to the popular Tinkertoys used for children's constructivist learning.


Examples of toy models in physics include:

Spekkens model

See also

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