Discrete event simulation (DES) is a type of simulation that considers a system as a discrete collection of events, with each event having a defined effect on the rest of the system. The individual processes that make up a system can each be defined in terms of their impact on the system, their resource requirements, and their trigger (i.e. they may be scheduled, might occur at random, or occur in response to another system event). Once these constituent parts have been defined, they can be combined within the simulation to recreate the system from the ground up.
One advantage of this method is its speed and configurability. Unlike continuous simulation models where each slice of time is considered equally, DES achieves results much more quickly by only considering those events that alter the state of the system. Additionally, since the system is defined from the bottom up, changes to ‘low-level processes’ can be tested almost instantly, without having to reconfigure high-level logic.
These are some of the varied DES projects we’ve completed, and they include a variety of contexts for DES and the outputs and insights that can be generated through the simulation process.
In practice, simulation can provide support across the entire lifecycle of an asset:
We take a consultative approach to DES and we begin by holding discussions with stakeholders to establish the relevant requirements and behaviour of the system. We then collect Key input data and establish a preliminary model. This is followed by an iterative process in which stakeholders check and validate the logic and behaviour of the model. This approach gives our customers confidence in the model being constructed, not just because they can compare the model’s results to real-world data but because they can also see how individual activities affect the bigger picture. Once the validity of the model has been agreed, it can trial proposals and test assumptions, and investigate the relationship between different inputs and KPIs.