Publication Abstract

Introduction to Simualtion-Based Decision Support Systems

Greenwood, A., & Hill. T. W. (2009). Introduction to Simualtion-Based Decision Support Systems. Mawson Lakes, South Australia: NICTA.


Decision-support systems (DSSs) are applications that support key aspects of a business and are important vehicles for having operations research models used in a broad context. They serve users by effectively integrating models, analysis, and data in a particular domain. Frequently DSSs involve the use of multiple, and often disparate, models that must work together. In these cases DSSs have to supply another key service – providing the mechanisms that permit models to collaborate. DSSs enrich and enlarge the decision space, standardize approaches to a situation, extend model life, and enable sophisticated models to be applied without the users having to fully understand and directly interact with the models. Of course, even though DSSs shield users from direct model interactions, the users must have enough understanding of the underlying models to employ them with confidence. This seminar provides an introduction to the development and use of decision support systems to improve the design, production, and operation of complex systems across a variety of domains, including component part manufacturing, automotive assembly, shipbuilding, and naval logistics. All of the models and DSSs that are presented and discussed have been developed at Mississippi State University for such clients as General Electric Aviation, Naval Sea Systems Command, Nissan North America, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, and the Office of Naval Research. All of the projects have a discrete-event simulation model at its core, and in many cases, that model has to collaborate with at least one other type of model, such as continuous simulation or optimization. The seminar will also include a brief introduction to discrete-event simulation.