Simulation represents a major divergence from the topics presented in the previous chapters of this text. Previous topics usually dealt with mathematical models and formulas that could be applied to certain types of problems. The solution approaches to these problems were, for the most part, analytical. However, not all real-world problems can be solved by applying a specific type of technique and then performing the calculations. Some problem situations are too complex to be represented by the concise techniques presented so far in this text. In such cases, simulation is an alternative form of analysis.
Analogue simulation is a form of simulation that is familiar to most people. In analogue simulation, an original physical system is replaced by an analogous physical system that is easier to manipulate. Much of the experimentation in staffed spaceflight was conducted using physical simulation that re-created the conditions of space. For example, conditions of weightlessness were simulated using rooms filled with water. Other examples include wind tunnels that simulate the conditions of flight and treadmills that simulate automobile tire wear in a laboratory instead of on the road.
Analogue simulation replaces a physical system with an analogous physical system that is easier to manipulate.
This chapter is concerned with an alternative type of simulation, computer mathematical simulation . In this form of simulation, systems are replicated with mathematical models, which are analyzed using a computer. This form of simulation has become very popular and has been applied to a wide variety of business problems. One reason for its popularity is that it offers a means of analyzing very complex systems that cannot be analyzed by using the other management science techniques in this text. However, because such complex systems are beyond the scope of this text, we will not present actual simulation models; instead, we will present simplified simulation models of systems that can also be analyzed analytically. We will begin with one of the simplest forms of simulation models, which encompasses the Monte Carlo process for simulating random variables .
In computer mathematical simulation, a system is replicated with a mathematical model that is analyzed by using the computer.