Intended Audience

This is an introductory textbook for a first course in discrete-event simulation modeling and analysis for upper-level undergraduate students as well as entering graduate students. While the text is focused towards engineering students (primarily industrial engineering) it could also be utilized by advanced business majors, computer science majors, and other disciplines where simulation is practiced. Practitioners interested in learning simulation and Arena could also use this book independently of a course.

Discrete-event simulation is an important tool for the modeling of complex system. It is used to represent manufacturing, transportation, and service systems in a computer program for the purpose of performing experiments. The representation of the system via a computer program enables the testing of engineering design changes without disruption to the system being modeled. Simulation modeling involves elements of system modeling, computer programming, probability and statistics, and engineering design. Because simulation modeling involves these individually challenging topics, the teaching and learning of simulation modeling can be difficult for both instructors and students. Instructors are faced with the task of presenting computer programming concepts, probability modeling, and statistical analysis all within the context of teaching how to model complex systems such as factories and supply chains. In addition, because of the complexity associated with simulation modeling, specialized computer languages are needed and thus must be taught to students for use during the model building process. This book is intended to help instructors with this daunting task.

Traditionally, there have been two primary types of simulation textbooks 1) those that emphasize the theoretical (and mostly statistical) aspects of simulation, and 2) those that emphasize the simulation language or package. The intention of this book is to blend these two aspects of simulation textbooks together while adding and emphasizing the art of model building. Thus the book contains chapters on modeling and chapters that emphasize the statistical aspects of simulation. However, the coverage of statistical analysis is integrated with the modeling in such a way to emphasize the importance of both topics.

This book utilizes the Arena Simulation Environment as the primary modeling tool for teaching simulation. Arena is one of the leading simulation modeling packages in the world and has a strong and active user base. While the book uses Arena as the primary modeling tool, the book is not intended to be a “user’s guide to Arena.” Instead, Arena is used as the vehicle for explaining important simulation concepts.

I feel strongly that simulation is best learned by doing. The book is structured to enable and encourage students to get engaged in the material. The overall approach to presenting the material is based on a hands-on concept for student learning. The style of writing is informal, tutorial, and centered around examples that students can implement while reading the chapters. The book assumes a basic knowledge of probability and statistics, and an introductory knowledge of computer programming. Even though these topics are assumed, the book provides integrated material that should refresh students on the basics of these topics. Thus, instructors who use this book should not have to formally cover this material, and can be assured that students who read the book will be aware of these concepts within the context of simulation.