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Simulation Special Interest Group
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SW16: Beginner and advanced tutorials

Monday, 28 Sep 2015 (revised date: Tuesday, 29 Sep 2015)
Thomas M Monks

The 8th Simulation Workshop – SW16 – is taking place next 11th – 13th April 2016. Stratford-Upon Avon, England, UK.  Deadline for papers 23 October 2015.

Instructions to submit your paper:

Our upcoming conference brings with it an extra half day of beginner and advanced simulation tutorials taught by some of the leading names in simulation.  This is a fantastic opportunity for beginners and experienced modellers alike - and a great reason to come and join us.   Here we announce five confirmed tutorials.

 1.      Simulation Input Uncertainty.

Tutor: Prof. Russell Cheng; University of Southampton

A simulation model usually depends on parameters whose values will affect its performance. For example in a single server queue, the queue length and customer waiting times depend on the customer arrival and server service rate parameters. Simulation experiments involving such a model often assume fixed, given values of these parameters. The only uncertainty is then the simulation uncertainty which is just the random variation that is built into the simulation model itself and which occurs when the model is run. Where there is uncertainty concerning parameter values, then this adds an input uncertainty that has to be taken into account in analysing simulation results.

The above approaches are based on a frequentist viewpoint. A natural alternative is to use a Bayesian formulation of input uncertainty. This has the advantage of enabling expert opinion to be incorporated into the formulation and this will also be discussed.

 Professor Russell Cheng has carried out academic research in simulation for the past 40 years and has previously given both introductory and advanced tutorials at the prestigious Winter Simulation Conference, as well as being a lecturer on the EPSRC-funded NATCOR simulation course, a national centre for the education of PhD students.

 2.      System Dynamics and Enduring Feedback Structure in Love and Supply Chains.

Tutor: Prof. John Morecroft; London Business School

In this tutorial John will introduce system dynamics modelling and simulation with a selection of well-known models that examine feedback structure and system performance. The models span a range of topics from Romeo and Juliet to manufacturing firms and supply chains. He will review the feedback structure of the models and the dynamics that arise from different ways of coordinating operations and asset stocks. Participants then use a variety of pre-built simulators to test and explore such coordination dynamics for themselves. He will demonstrate an approach to model analysis that combines visualisation and simulation with non-technical narrative interpretation of simulations. The approach yields intuitively appealing insight into performance paradoxes to help modellers (and executives) identify practical policy changes that improve functional coordination and overall firm performance.

Professor John Morecroft is a past president of the System Dynamics Society and a leading expert in strategic modelling and system dynamics, publishing numerous articles and several books in the area, including the very successful textbook Strategic Modelling and Business Dynamics.

 3.      Conceptual Modelling for Simulation.

Tutor: Prof. Stewart Robinson;  University of Loughborough

Conceptual modelling is the abstraction of a simulation model from the part of the real world it is representing; in other words, choosing what to model, and what not to model.  This is generally agreed to be the most difficult, least understood and most important task to be carried out in a simulation study.  The aim of this tutorial is to develop a better understanding of conceptual modelling and how to do it.  We shall first define the term ‘conceptual model’ and identify the role of conceptual modelling in the simulation project life-cycle. We shall then go on to discuss the requirements of a conceptual model, the benefits and approaches for documenting a conceptual model, and a framework for guiding the conceptual modelling activity.  The tutorial will be illustrated with a number of real life modelling examples.

Professor Stewart Robinson is President of the OR Society and the author of one of the key texts in simulation, Simulation: the Practice of Model Development and Use. Like Russell, he is also a lecturer on the NATCOR simulation course.

4.      Practitioner and Academic Collaborations: Getting the Best from Both Worlds

Tutor: Dr Simon Taylor; Brunel University

Effective collaboration between practitioners and academics can lead to extremely beneficial results for both parties.  However, how do collaborations get started?  What are reasonable expectations from both sides?  How can such collaborations be managed?  What can happen if things go wrong?  Using real examples of collaborations, this tutorial will explore how to get the best from both worlds.  The tutorial will particularly focus on practitioners who want to know more about funding mechanisms that support academic collaborations and early stage academics who want to start industrial collaborations.

Dr Simon Taylor leads the Modelling and Simulation Group at Brunel University and was previously Editor-in-Chief of the successful Journal of Simulation.  Simon is a regular lecturer on the NATCOR courses.

5. An Introduction to Agent Based Modelling

Tutor: Dr Bhakti Stephan Onggo. Lancaster University

This tutorial will provide an introduction to agent-based simulation (ABS) using Repast. The tutorial consists of four parts. In the first part, I will introduce the concepts of ABS with some examples. In the second part, I will explain about the concepts and structure used by Repast Simphony such as context and projections. This will be followed by an example in repast. Finally, I will conclude the tutorial with some cases in which repast have been used. The software and the instruction on how to install it can be found from 

Dr Bhakti Stephan Onggo is a lecturer (assistant professor) at the Department of Management Science at the Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, United Kingdom. He completed his PhD in Computer Science from the National University of Singapore and his MSc in Management Science from the Lancaster University. His research interests are in the areas of simulation modelling methodology (modelling paradigms and conceptual modelling), simulation technology and simulation applications in supply chain and healthcare.


See for more information about the conference.


Sent on behalf of the SW16 organising committee


  • Dr Christine Currie, University of Southampton – Conference co-chair
  • Dr Thomas Monks, University of Southampton – Conference co-chair
  • Dr Martin Kunc, University of Warwick – Programme chair
  • Dr Anastasia Anagnostou, Brunel University – Programme chair
  • Dr Katy Hoad, University of Warwick – Programme chair
  • Dr Anastasia Gogi, Loughborough University – Poster Chair