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Existing modeling methods in distributed parameter systems are directed to field problems for which a single equation gives an adequate representation. As a result, the techniques are severely taxed when coefficients of the governing partial differential equation (PDE) have relatively complex functional forms. The field is postulated to consist of contiguous regions that are easily modeled. During the modeling process itself, the regional boundaries are identified using a method based on pattern recognition (PR) techniques. The method was tested on computer simulations of a water quality resource system. Quantitative measures are developed and used to demonstrate the feasibility of applying the methodology to realistic distributed parameter systems (DPS's).