Business Modelling & Simulation
Course Co-ordinator: Roger Brooks
Roger Brooks and Stephan Onggo
Pre-requisites: MSCI 100/101/110 or equivalent
Term Taught: Lent
Computer simulation methods are amongst the most commonly used approaches within Operational Research and Management Science. The aim of this course is to teach the skills required to apply simulation successfully to help improve the running of a business.
Modern simulation packages are a valuable aid in building a simulation model and this course will employ the Witness simulation package, which is widely used commercially. However, without the proper approach, the results of a simulation project can be incorrect or misleading. This course looks at each of the tasks required in a simulation project. It emphasises the practical application of simulation, with a good understanding of how a simulation model works being an essential part of this.
Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes
Subject-specific learning outcomes:
By the end of the course you should:
- Understand how a simulation model works
- Understand each of the tasks required for a successful simulation project
- Be able to build a simulation model using the Witness simulation package
- Be able to carry out a simulation project successfully.
Cognitive abilities/Non-subject-specific learning outcomes:
- Presentation skills
- Report writing skills
- Analytical skills
Contact Time: 18 hours lectures, 9 hours workshops
Outline Lecture Plan
Week Proposed topic
11 Introduction to simulation
12 Discrete event simulation and acticity cycle diagrams
13 Three phase approach
14 Simulating variability and the simulation process
15 Simulation process and conceptual modelling
17 Data collection and data modelling
18 Verification and validation
19 Output analysis
20 Managing a simulation project and simulation research issues
The total workload for the course is expected to be about 80 hours. The lectures and workshops are about 30 hours of this and the workload also includes time to complete workshop material and to complete the coursework assessments.
I hope that you enjoy the course and I welcome feedback informally or via course reps.
The course will use Moodle for posting lecture notes, assignments and answering queries. MLE site: https://mle.lancs.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1667
The undergraduate secretary for the Management Science department is Helena Greenwood, in A68 Management School. Her office hours are 10 - 12 and 2.30 - 4.30.
There is also a departmental webboard giving answers to frequently asked questions at:
There will be two pieces of assessment - an individual test, and a group project to be submitted in the summer term (submission date to be confirmed during the course). The test will be on the lecture and workshop material in weeks 1-4. The group project will be to carry out a complete simulation project on a problem of your choosing. This can be any suitable problem that you are familiar with from around campus, in Lancaster or elsewhere.
For the cwa, standard departmental penalties will apply for late work unless you have been given an extension by the relevant lecturer for exceptional reasons.
Selected handouts will be provided during the course but there will be no formal set of lecture notes. There are many recent books on computer simulation, in particular:
- Brooks R.J. and Robinson S. (2001), Simulation, Texts in Operational Research (published with Stock Control), Palgrave.
- Pidd M. (2005), Computer Simulation in Management Science (5th edition), John Wiley & Sons.
- Law A.M. (2007), Simulation Modelling & Analysis (4th edition). McGraw-Hill.
- Proceedings of Winter Simulation Conference
There are several copies of Brooks and Robinson, and Pidd in the library.
Winter Simulation Conference: http://www.wintersim.org/
Artificial intelligence / simulation group in Arizona (good links): http://www.acims.arizona.edu/
EUROSIM/UK Simulation Society: http://www.eurosim.info/
Society for Computer Simulation