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Notes on Simulation and Simulation Languages

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128376D
Original Publication Date: 1968-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-15
Document File: 16 page(s) / 68K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Flanigan, Larry K.: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Through the availability of large high-speed digital computers, the development of general purpose discrete and continuous simulation languages, and the general acceptance of operational research techniques in decision making procedures, the use of models and digital computer simulation has become a popular technique in research and in decision making. The literature in most fields reflects this approach to current problem areas. Unfortunately, there is no common, accepted definition of such terms as "model" and "simulation", nor of the interrelations of such concepts, so that the act of building and simulating a model must to a certain extent be intuitive, and thus dependent upon the model-builder's knowledge and experience. We will herein look at a few of these 1inguistic difficulties, attempting to develop some feeling for the concept and use of simulation and of model-building.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Notes on Simulation and Simulation Languages

by

Larry K. Flanigan
Communication Sciences Department and Computing Center University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
June, Through the availability of large high-speed digital computers, the development of general purpose discrete and continuous simulation languages, and the general acceptance of operational research techniques in decision making procedures, the use of models and digital computer simulation has become a popular technique in research and in decision making. The literature in most fields reflects this approach to current problem areas. Unfortunately, there is no common, accepted definition of such terms as "model" and "simulation", nor of the interrelations of such concepts, so that the act of building and simulating a model must to a certain extent be intuitive, and thus dependent upon the model-builder's knowledge and experience. We will herein look at a few of these 1inguistic difficulties, attempting to develop some feeling for the concept and use of simulation and of model-building.

Since most industrial applications of simulation come under the general heading of operations research (OR), we will first consider briefly this term. OR may be described as the application of mathematical or scientific methods or techniques to industrial (or, better, managerial) decision making. The systems involved in the decision making are usually complex, ranging from an inventory control system on the one hand to high level decision systems concerned with the placement of physical plant or job or product development on the other. Within OR there are a number of distinct areas in which specific theory is reasonably well developed; these areas include, among others, inventory theory, queueing theory, replacement theory, mathematical programming (both linear and dynamic programming), and sequencing theory. References 7 through 11 contain full discussions of these various areas; there are a large number of books and articles available on OR, also. Within these areas there are several well-defined problem types for which well-defined solution procedures exist; among these problem types are scheduling problems, transportation problems, assignment problems, and the traveling salesman problem. It would appear from the literature that most writers in OR do not include the above areas under the heading of simulation; thus, if one can frame his particular problem in such a way that it can be dealt with as a linear programming problem, using well-known solution techniques (such as the Simplex method), one is not apparently simulating. It is not altogether clear why the resultant problem description in linear programming terms cannot be considered a model (which it is) and the act of obtaining a possible optimal solution as an act of simulation. Be that as it may, simulation is usually considered as another solution technique wit...