Advantages and Disadvantages of Building Blocks in Simulation Studies

Edwin Valentin, Alexander Verbraeck, H.G. Sol

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Many logistic problems are solved using simulation, however these studies often take too much time and cost too much. One of the reasons for this is the lack
of a clear structure of simulation models. To solve this problem we postulate, based on our research, that simulation building blocks can be used to
provide fast and easy construction of simulation models that are easy to maintain and to extend. We defined a set of laboratory experiments to evaluate whether building blocks really provide the benefits we expect. In this paper we describe a laboratory experiment in which simulation experts were asked to perform a simulation study and to provide as much support to the problem owners as possible. The experts were divided into two groups: a group with
and a group without building blocks. The outcome was nothing like we expected. None of the experts managed to reach an acceptable level of performance.
The experts using building blocks faced a lot of errors due to sloppy user input and the experts using plain simulation constructs were still configuring
their models at the end of the time allowed for the experiment. The participants using building blocks mainly complained about documentation and the training material, but felt that they understood the building blocks and could, in future, carry out a high-quality simulation study more quickly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSimulation in Industry 15th European Simulation Symposium
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherSCS-European Publishing House
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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