Fall Semester 2006

I&MSE 458: System Simulation


  • Understand the broad applicability of discrete-event process simulation to industrial engineering problems
  • Know the steps required to undertake a successful simulation analysis
  • Learn analytical techniques for interpreting input data and output results pertinent to simulation models
  • Learn to use the software tool Arena® to build simulation models


Required text: Kelton, W. David, Randall P. Sadowski, and David T. Sturrock.   2007.  Simulation with Arena, 4th edition.  Boston, Massachusetts:  The McGraw-Hill Companies, Incorporated.

Urgently recommended text:
Banks, Jerry, John S. Carson, II, Barry L. Nelson, and David M. Nicol. 2005. Discrete-Event System Simulation, 4th edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Incorporated.

Professor Lawrence M. Leemis has kindly invited us to classroom-text the manuscript of his new simulation text.  Portions thereof will be made available for your study at no monetary cost.

Recommended references:
Alexopoulos, Christos and Andrew F. Seila.
1998. Advanced Methods for Simulation Output Analysis. In Proceedings of the 1998 Winter Simulation Conference, Volume 1, eds. D. J. Medeiros, Edward F. Watson, John S. Carson, and Mani S. Manivannan, 113-120.
Altiok, Tayfur, and Benjamin Melamed.  2001.  Simulation Modeling and Analysis With ArenaPiscataway, New Jersey:  Cyber Research, Incorporated and Enterprise Technology Solutions, Incorporated.  {ISBN 0-9709795-0-9}
Banks, Jerry, and Randall Gibson. 1996. Getting Started in Simulation Modeling. Industrial Engineering Solutions 28(11):34-39.
Banks, Jerry, and Randall Gibson. 1997. Don't Simulate When … 10 Rules for Determining when Simulation Is Not Appropriate. Industrial Engineering Solutions 29(9):30-32.
Buzacott, John A., and J. George Shanthikumar. 1993. Stochastic Models of Manufacturing Systems. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Incorporated.
Garnett, Jeremy. 1999. The Last Word on Simulation. IIE Solutions 31(1):45-47.
Harrell, Charles, and Kerim Tumay. 1994. Simulation Made Easy : A Manager’s Guide. Norcross, Georgia: Engineering & Management Press.
Law, Averill M., and W. David Kelton. 1991. Simulation Modeling and Analysis, 2nd edition. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, Incorporated.
Law, Averill M., and Michael G. McComas. 1998. Simulation of Manufacturing Systems. In Proceedings of the 1998 Winter Simulation Conference, Volume 1, eds. D. J. Medeiros, Edward F. Watson, John S. Carson, and Mani S. Manivannan, 49-52.
Leemis, Lawrence. 1998. Input Modeling. In Proceedings of the 1998 Winter Simulation Conference, Volume 1, eds. D. J. Medeiros, Edward F. Watson, John S. Carson, and Mani S. Manivannan, 15-22.
Nelson, Barry L. 1995. Stochastic Modeling Analysis and Simulation. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill, Incorporated.
Profozich, David. 1998. Managing Change with Business Process Simulation. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Incorporated.
Schriber, Thomas J., and Daniel T. Brunner. 2002. Inside Discrete-Event Simulation Software: How It Works and Why It Matters. In Proceedings of the 2002 Winter Simulation Conference, Volume 1, eds. Enver Yücesan, Chun-Hung Chen, Jane L. Snowdon, and John M. Charnes, 97-107.
Seila, Andrew F., Vlatko Ceric, and Pandu Tadikamalla.  2003.  Applied Simulation ModelingBelmont, California:  Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning, Incorporated.


Course Outline



Kelton, Sadowski, and Sturrock text

Banks, Carson, Nelson, and Nicol text



Chapter 1

Chapters 1 & 2


Simulation fundamentals

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


A guided tour through Arena

Chapter 3



Modeling basic operations and inputs

Chapter 4

Chapter 9 expands KSS 4.5.4


Modeling detailed operations

Chapter 5

Chapter 11 expands KSS 5.2.8


Analyzing output from terminating simulations


Chapters 11 & 12


Analyzing output from steady-state simulations

Chapter 7

Chapters 11 & 12


Entity transfer via material-handling equipment

Chapter 8

Chapter 13


Additional modeling techniques to represent material-handling detail, entity balking and reneging, holding and batching, overlapping resources

Chapter 9

Section 6.1.4 expands KSS 9.3


Model input from and output to Microsoft Excel®

Chapter 10 subset



Random number generation

Chapter 12

Chapter 7 expands KSS section 12.1; Chapter 8 expands KSS section 12.2


Conducting successful simulation studies

Chapter 13 and case study readings

Section 1.11 and Chapter 10


  • Homework problems 15%
  • Midterm examination (25 October) 25%
  • Semester simulation project 30% (due date 11 December)
  • Final examination (Friday, 15 December, at 3:00pm) 30%

For the semester project, students will form teams of 2 or 3 (choice of teammates yours) and undertake a simulation project with a local industry, business, or governmental unit. This project will be graded as follows:

  • quality of work (client’s assessment to me) 20%
  • quality of model (my assessment) 50%
  • quality of written report 15% (Guidelines)
  • quality of oral report to class 10%
  • alertness of queries to other reporting teams 5%

Quality of all models developed, both the laboratory homework assignments models (which will likewise be done in teams) and the semester simulation project model(s), specifically includes quality of external and internal model documentation.  Importance of such documentation cannot be overemphasized.  You will be assigned as supplemental reading the seminal paper:

Oscarsson, Jan, and Matías Urenda Moris.  2002.  "Documentation of Discrete Event Simulation Models for Manufacturing System Life Cycle Simulation."  In Proceedings of the 2002 Winter Simulation Conference, Volume 2, eds. Enver Yücesan, Chun-Hung Chen, Jane L. Snowdon, and John M. Charnes, 1073-1078.

Additionally, these authors have very kindly consented to the placement of their presentation material on this website here.

This class runs under the College of Engineering and Computer Science Academic Code of Conduct. Specifically, the provost and deans have endorsed the following statement whose inclusion is required in each syllabus within the College, including this one:

The University of Michigan-Dearborn values academic honesty and integrity.  Each student has a responsibility to understand, accept, and comply with the College of Engineering and Computer Science Academic Code of Conduct.  Cheating, collusion, misconduct, fabrication, and plagiarism are considered serious offenses.  Violations will not be tolerated and may result in penalties up to and including expulsion from the university.

Each examination will have a closed-book portion followed by an open-book (and notes) portion. In the closed-book portion, you will write expository paragraphs on fundamental concepts. No closed-book question will require quotation or usage of a memorized formula. In the open-book portion, you will work problems similar to those assigned as homework and/or discussed in class. Either or both examinations may also have a "take-home" question which, unlike an in-class examination question, can presume access to simulation and statistics software.

Computer software availability:

The Simulation and Automation Laboratory, Room 1070 Engineering Complex, has Arena [Version 7.01.00], SIMUL8 [Version 7], WITNESS, and ProModel for Windows®,
Manuals are available there for in-room use.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn maintains an "Inclement Weather Campus Closure Information Line" at 313-436-9157.  You may wish to call this number in situations involving severe storms, power outages, insurrection, epidemic, or other unpleasant (understatement!) events to see if the campus is open.

Availability of help:

  • Just before and after class and laboratory in ELB.  Also 9am-9:50am and 11:15am-1pm MW in B-14 FCS.
  • VLT site Question Board.
  • Day phone (313)-441-4460 x1031.
  • Campus Email address williame@umich.edu
  • Office address ewilliams@pmcorp.com

Useful Web Sites:

  • The Institute of Industrial Engineers maintains a site at IIE.
  • The Winter Simulation Conference governing board maintains a site at WSC.
  • The Michigan Simulation User Group (MSUG) maintains a site at MSUG.
  • A useful introductory overview site here.
  • The Society for Computer Simulation maintains a site at SCS.
  • The Association for Computing Machinery has a special interest group in computer simulation, SIGSIM, which maintains a web site at ACM-SIGSIM.
  • Arena maintains a site.
  • SIMUL8 maintains a site at SIMUL8.
  • WITNESS maintains a site at WITNESS.
  • PROMODEL maintains a site at PROMODEL.
  • The Stat::Fit® vendor Geer Mountain Software Corporation maintains a web site at Stat::Fit.

At the European Simulation Symposium in Marseille, République Française [France], October 2001, I heard an excellent presentation on simulation. The lead author, Björn Johannson, a Ph.D. student at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sverige [Sweden], has graciously permitted me to post his presentation here.