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Simulation approaches

Exploring the most popular methods for developing simulation models.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0

Traditionally, the following are the most popular methods for developing simulation models.

Discrete event

In this model, state variable changes at discrete points in time (eg the length of a queue in a bank). It focuses on events and how they affect the system state (explored in Short Course 2). This gives us the ability to skip through time until an event occurs, which means we can potentially simulate years in a matter of minutes or seconds.

System dynamics

These models deal with internal feedback loops and time delays that affect the behaviour of the entire system (explored in Short Course 2). It describes or models the interchanging relationships between a phenomenon and related factors. For example, finding out how factors like the time of day or traffic intensity impact the delivery of a parcel.

Spreadsheets (deterministic and probabilistic add-ins)

These are perhaps the simplest and most broadly used general-purpose simulators. They allow users to program their own simulation model using a familiar application, such as Microsoft Excel.

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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