Queueing Theory Attempts

Queueing Theory Attempts

Queueing Theory, attempts to explain the rates at which or the proportions in which productive facilities or services should be provided in order to maximize efficiency and minimize cost. Queues are created by the uncertainty about the rate at which the facilities or services are required. For example, taxi drivers cannot be sure when passengers will want their services and so do not arrive at taxi ranks at the precise time when they are wanted. Delivery vans may not be able to arrive at a factory at the precise time when goods are ready for collection. Queues of people and goods therefore form.

If prices were infinitely flexible raising them might reduce some queues so that those who do not wish to pay higher prices fall out. But it is impracticable to alter prices with this degree of refinement, and imperfect knowledge about the demand for the facilities for services makes queues inevitable. Queueing theory attempts to indicate how queues can be reduced by observing the rates of arrival of goods or people, the average period of waiting, the frequency with which facilities or services arrive. It may then be possible by improving the flow of information to reduce the queues or to time the arrival of facilities or services so that they synchronize more nearly with the demand for them. Where such methods cannot be tried as practical experiments, because it may be too costly to change established procedure unless it is sure that the new methods will be better, it may be possible to construct mathematical models. to see how the new methods might work by calculating or estimating the average length of queues and the chance that, for example, a, taxi passenger or a consignment of goods will have to wait. Where such mathematical solutions are difficult, a paper experiment, known as simulation, may help by assuming that persons or goods that need the services arrive at stated intervals and that the service for each person or consignment takes a given time. Where queueing is found in more complex situations, it may be possible to use electronic computers to 'simulate' or reproduce the processes.

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