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Introducing queuing theory through simulations
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Soon, W. M., & Ang, K. C. (2015). Introducing queuing theory through simulations. The Electronic Journal of Mathematics and Technology, 9(2), 152-165. Retrieved from
Queuing theory is usually introduced to students from second year onwards in a
university undergraduate programme, as the mathematical principles governing
queues can be fairly demanding, making it challenging to introduce any earlier.
However, we often see queues and experience queuing in real life. It would therefore
be appropriate, relevant and useful to introduce the concept of queuing theory to preuniversity
students or first-year undergraduates. The approach suggested is through
simulation models supported by suitable technology. In doing so, students can
understand some basic probability theory and statistical concepts, such as the Poisson
process and exponential distribution, and learn how queues may be modelled through
simulation, without the need to know all about classical queuing theory. In this paper,
we will discuss the role that simulation can play in a classroom to create real world
learning experiences for students. To provide a concrete illustration, a set of real
data collected in a simple ATM queue will be used to explain how students can
systematically be engaged in a modelling activity involving queues. Following that,
queues at cinema ticketing counters are studied to discuss the modelling of a more
complex queue system.
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