1 Simulation Learning Objectives Explain what is meant by the term simulation

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  • Simulation

Learning Objectives

  • Explain what is meant by the term simulation

  • List some of the reasons for simulation’s popularity as a tool for decision making

  • Explain how and why random numbers are used are used in simulation

  • Outline the advantages and limitations of simulation

  • Describe the alternatives that a manager would reject before choosing simulation as a decision making tool

  • Solve typical problems that require simulation


  • Simulation: a descriptive technique that enables a decision maker to evaluate the behavior of a model under various conditions.

  • Simulation models complex situations

  • Models are simple to use and understand

  • Models can play “what if” experiments

  • Extensive software packages available

Simulation Process

  • Identify the problem

  • Develop the simulation model

  • Test the model

  • Develop the experiments

  • Run the simulation and evaluate results

  • Repeat 4 and 5 until results are satisfactory

Monte Carlo Simulation

  • Monte Carlo method: Probabilistic simulation technique used when a process has a random component

  • Identify a probability distribution

  • Setup intervals of random numbers to match probability distribution

  • Obtain the random numbers

  • Interpret the results

Example S-1

Simulating Distributions

Uniform Distribution

Negative Exponential Distribution

Computer Simulation

  • Simulation languages

    • GPSS/H
    • GPSS/PC
    • RESQ

Advantages of Simulation

  • Solves problems that are difficult or impossible to solve mathematically

  • Allows experimentation without risk to actual system

  • Compresses time to show long-term effects

  • Serves as training tool for decision makers

Limitations of Simulation

  • Does not produce optimum solution

  • Model development may be difficult

  • Computer run time may be substantial

  • Monte Carlo simulation only applicable to random systems

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