The objectives of this workshop are to identify and study the key difficulties and set an agenda for advanced research in the mathematical modeling and simulation of complex service systems that involve uncertainty. This includes health-care systems, emergency systems (ambulances, police, fire fighting, natural disasters, etc.), logistic and delivery systems, transportation systems, telephone call centers, communication networks, and so on. The aim is to develop appropriate mathematical models that account for the uncertainty in these systems, develop simulation tools based on those models, and develop algorithms and software to optimize or improve the design and management of those systems using simulation.

Large and complex service systems have enormous importance for the well-being of our communities. Yet the design and management of those systems is a very difficult talk, mainly because of their high complexity and the large amount of uncertainty that they involve. Stochastic models and computer-based simulation are appropriate tools for this task, but developing sufficiently realistic and reliable models is still at the research stage. The workshop will serve to identify the most important and relevant research issues for the modeling, simulation, and management of service systems. It will expose researchers and students to multiple perspectives on complex systems in a range of application areas, foster exchanges of expertise and new research collaborations across those areas, and set an agenda for future research. A special issue of a highly-ranked scientific journal on stochastic simulation will be devoted to selected contributions from this workshop. Presentations will also be made available on the internet after the workshop.

Project Report

Workshop: Simulation in Complex Service Systems HEC Montreal, July 18-20, 2011 Service systems arise in the service sector of the economy, and therefore constitute a large fraction of the economic activity of the USA. Such systems include, e.g., health-care systems, transportation systems, and revenue management systems. Traditionally, simulation modeling has focused less on service systems and more on the systems involving the transfer of physical goods, as in the manufacturing sector of the economy. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together researchers working in, or interested in, service systems, to help publicize existing high-quality work in this area, and to help scope future research agendas in the area. The workshop consisted of ten plenary talks by leading researchers, poster presentations and ample time for discussion and interaction. The poster presentations were preceded by a single "summary session," where each poster presenter advertised their poster in a 2 minute slot. The plenary talks and the posters are available for download from the conference website. The journal "ACM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation" will publish selected papers from the workshop. The major observations from the workshop can be grouped under the following headings: Important Application Areas Healthcare, energy, staffing, logistics, revenue management, disaster management. Modeling Models that are composites of smaller models will grow in importance and use. It is essential to appropriately capture human behavior in service-system models. Service systems may require great care in modeling inputs and the service process. Visualization and human-in-the-loop modeling are important growth areas. As with all modeling, one must take care to capture an appropriate level of detail: not too much. Methodology More work is needed in understanding input uncertainty and model misspecification. Simulation modeling must explicitly consider the robustness of the resulting recommendations. There are potentially strong links with approximate dynamic programming for real-time applications. Methods for combining deterministic and simulation optimization are needed.

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Cornell University
United States
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