Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

How is simulation achieved?

Explore the ways in which simulation is accomplished.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Now that we’ve covered where simulation can be used, let’s consider the methods that are available for simulation.

Simulation can be accomplished in several ways:

  • By hand (see Buffon’s Needle experiment)
  • Spreadsheets (which we’ll cover in a later short course)
  • Programming in general-purpose languages (eg Java, VB.Net or Python)
  • Simulation packages (eg, Simul8, Arena, ProModel or FlexSim)

What is in a simulation program?

There are particular features that are found in most simulation programs, which you need to be aware of to really understand how simulation works. These are:

  • Simulated time: a variable that keeps track of simulated time.
  • System ‘state’: variables maintained by the simulation program that define the condition or performance of the system – for example, tracking the number of pallets in a queue.
  • Events: points in the process when a system changes state – for example, the arrival of pallets into the queue, departure from the queue, or when a forklift changes from busy to idle.

Your task

What methods, if any, are you most familiar with? Share your thoughts in the comments.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
This article is from the free online

Simulation for Logistics: An Introduction

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education