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Methodology For Evaluating Simulation Software For Engineering Management Courses

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Program Delivery Methods and Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.937.1 - 10.937.10



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Paper Authors

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Jayakumar Narasimhan

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Erick Jones

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Methodology for evaluating Simulation Software for Engineering Management Courses Erick C. Jones and Jayakumar Narasimhan Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.A.

Simulation has proven to be an efficient tool to reproduce industrial environments without the actual cost of construction. Simulation is a process of enacting the actual or conceptual situation in a computer based environment and enables assessment, understanding and decision making of the situation under study. Simulation software uses previously collected data and mathematical approximations as inputs which allow the creation of real-world models that generates results which engineering managers can use to make decisions.

In engineering management curriculum operational processes and systems are evaluated using mathematical derivations and then compared against operational simulations. Several simulation software packages are commonly used in engineering management classes. Each has a unique way of representing the system and calculating the outputs of interest. This paper provides a methodology that uses specific criterion for selecting appropriate software for a given system of interest and includes a case study using two simulation software packages that are commonly used in academia (ARENA and SIMUL8), to demonstrate the methodologies. This study provides a methodology that can assist instructors, students, and practitioners in selecting appropriate software for their operation.

Keywords: Simulation, Software selection, Arena, Simul8

1. Introduction

Simulation is a process of enacting the actual or conceptual situation in a computer based environment. Simulation enables the assessment, understanding and decision making in the situation under study. Simulation process is widely used in shop floor environment to verify the efficiency of the layout or to identify solution for improvements, in service industry it is used to manage the customers by assessing the time spent on the phone or waiting time in the queue.

Computer simulation eliminates the cost of building the actual system to study its feasibility. It enables the user to play with scenarios and identify the best possible ones. As the computer technology grows faster, variety of simulation tools are available to suit the requirement of the situations under study. Simulation software are available commercially from under $500 to over $50,000 and each tool has various strengths and weakness1. Few softwares are custom built for particular situation with lots of inner details and others are developed for common scenarios with limitations and reduced flexibility.

Most software allow users to draw inferences about the new systems, without building or changing the existing system, to verify the feasibility of new system. They also prepare reports to

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Narasimhan, J., & Jones, E. (2005, June), Methodology For Evaluating Simulation Software For Engineering Management Courses Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14671

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