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SUPPLEMENT TO CHAPTER 18: SIMULATION Teaching Notes Students can grasp many of the concepts of simulation by running some very simple hand simulations. Hence, I feel these hand simulations are quite worthwhile. Nevertheless, if it is possible to make use of a computer to run some large (in terms of number of observations) simulations, the students may begin to sense some of the inferential aspects of simulation. You may have access to a package, or you can write your own simple program. It need not be elaborate for students to benefit from it—I think the value lies in the ability to manipulate parameters and to obtain a large number of trials over a short timespan without having to read numbers from a random number table. Answers to Discussion and Review Questions 1. A simulation is a model that duplicates the behavior of some real life phenomenon. 2. Among the main reasons for the popularity of simulation are the following: a. Many situations are too complex to permit mathematical modeling. b. Simulation models are easy to use and to understand. c. Experimentation is feasible as a means of understanding system behavior without the risks that would be inherent in real life. d. Extensive software packages are available. e. It can be used for a wide range of applications. f. It has been successfully applied in many instances. 3. Examples mentioned in the text include simulating space flight, airplane landings and takeoffs, life testing of automotive tires and business decision environments. Some of the problems at the end of the chapter involve simulated sampling. 4.Random numbers provide the element of randomness, or chance, to a simulation. 5. Simulation is based on the use of random numbers. Consequently, results will typically vary from trial to trial. In other words, variation is expected. In fact, the variation observed can provide the decision-maker with a feel for the degree to which results might vary in real life. A second point is that simulation is not intended to generate solutions per se, but to enable the decision-maker to better understand a situation and to test alternatives. 6.The main advantages of simulation are: a. It lends itself to problems where a mathematical solution is not possible or feasible. b. It permits experimentation with inherent risks. c. Time is greatly compressed. d. It can serve as a means of developing understanding and “experience.” 7.Among the limitations of simulation as a decision-making tool are the following: Operations Management, 9/e 250
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a. Simulation does not provide an optimal solution, or even a solution. It simply indicates approximate behavior for a given set of inputs. b. A large-scale simulation can involve considerable effort and considerable computer time and cost.
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