ExtendSim in Research

ExtendSim popularity in higher institutions has experienced phenomenal growth as researchers have learned of ExtendSim's ease of use combined with its high level of accuracy. ExtendSim has become an indispensable component supporting essential phases of innovative research projects in universities worldwide.

In response to the growing popularity of using ExtendSim in research projects, we established the ExtendSim Research Grant program. Under the Grant, Imagine That Inc. subsidizes a portion of the student's PostDoc, PhD, or Masters research by donating a full version of ExtendSim for use by the student during the term of the project. In exchange, the student provides a description of the research and quarterly updates throughout the term of the project. At the end of the research, all findings (ie. paper, project, etc.) and the ExtendSim model formulated are posted on the Imagine That Inc. web site and the student may continue to use the ExtendSim license granted to them.

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Current Research Grants

Here are some of the research projects awarded an ExtendSim Research Grant that are currently in progress. To learn about past projects completed under the ExtendSim Research Grant program, please see Research Grants Fulfilled

Aerospace Engineering

University of New South WalesLogistical studies of unmanned aerial vehicles

Keirin Joyce
University of New South Wales

PhD in Aerospace Engineering
Grant awarded: March 2009
To be completed: December 2018


Project Description

Modelling of discrete operational events that impact the logistic support ramifications of unmanned aerial vehicle availability. Logistical studies of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quite immature at this stage. This is due to the fact that most UAVs are brought into service under Advanced Technology Concept Demonstration (ATCD) programs and this method of introduction into service sees little effort put into precursory logistic planning - it is usually an after-thought. As such, while there has been a great deal of modeling of standard systems engineering logistic support, while Major Joyce has found none that he can identify in the literature pertaining to rapidly acquired aircraft, let alone unmanned aircraft systems.


Updates

December 21, 2016 - A quick update: I am now running the Australian Army UAS (Drone) Program and am able to implement some of the ideas explored in my chapter and models. Unfortunately, this means that my PhD has slowed down again due to work. This has been complicated by my doing some extra work with UNSW on other logistic problems, some of which I have proposed be tackled using DES.

I appreciate that I will be pushing the friendship with ExtendSim, but can I ask for another extension? My new completion date negotiated with my Supervisors and the review board is end-2018. My academic use of ExtendSim will not go past end-2018 – the University have stated they won't be able to grant me any further extensions. I do hope this is supportable by your team. Let me know as soon as possible if it isn't.

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January 30, 2015 - I have to tell you that I have a had a great year that has exceeded my expectations. The plan changed somewhat in that I was invited to write a chapter based on my research for an Operations Research text being published by Wiley and Sons. So, instead of writing two to three papers, I wrote a textbook chapter with the endorsement of my academic supervisors. It is still in editorial iteration with the books editing team. The chapter explains the foundations of my research project, how discrete event simulation can be used to plan and develop logistic support systems, and targets some of the areas that I am modelling.

I presented this chapter as a key presentation to the 4th Australasian Conference on Unmanned Systems (4ACUS) on 14 Dec 14 in Melbourne, and will be presenting again at the upcoming 16th Australasian International Aerospace Congress (16AIAC) in Melbourne again on 23-24 Feb 15 and the AUVSI Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in May 15. I am very happy with the level of enthusiasm that this chapter has received in the academic community thus far.

In the end, 2014 ended up being a litte bit forward and a little bit backward in the overall program, and as such I have reviewed the research program and extended expected completion to 2016. I still have many models to build on the path to project completion, and ExtendSim is key to this progressing.

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October 13, 2013 - Research is progressing well in part-time mode. My employer, Army, has agreed to give me next year off as a full-time student to complete the Doctorate. I intend publishing three papers, the first to be presented at the AUVSI Conference, Orlando, May 14, and the second at the Australasian UAV Conference, Melbourne, December 14.

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July 9, 2012 - I have no notable progress to report. I anticipate that the September update will hold better news.

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April 2, 2012 - My sincere apologies. My university supervisor can atest to the fact that I needed a break from uni last year due to unanticipated work demands and as a result I did not study for much of last year. I am studying again this year, but have only just picked it back up and it is slow going after such a long break. I could not honestly commit to completion any earlier than Dec this year due to essentially having to restart after my time away from studies. I understand completely if ExtendSim feel that I have not kept up my end of the bargain on the academic licence and would ask if there are student prices available in order to keep my licence if you feel it appropriate to cancel my Research Grant. Please advise.

Note: We once again have extended Major Joyce's ExtendSim Research Grant through December 2012 to help support his research.

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March 14, 2011 - What a temultuous last twelve months! My day job (Australian Army) has picked up to full speed and subsequently I negotiated a program amendment with UNSW@ADFA to roll back from full-time to part-time. The university candidature board (last November) has approved my project's continuance and I am now working towards the completion of Phase 1 of my doctorate studies. This being that I have completed the model and will work over coming weeks to validate it against the 2004 RAND Corp research. From here I will update the assumption based 2004 work with 2011 data and then publish my first paper.

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March 30, 2010 - The project has been slightly delayed due to a stolen laptop. The project will be completed by September of 2010 and a project update will be posted in May of 2010.

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October 2009 - Continuing to develop model (my work has been quite slow this month due to work commitments). I envisage having the first iteration of the model ready over the Christmas break and will commence validation of the model at this time.

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September 2009 - Compiling data for use within model.

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August 2009 - Overseas gathering data from a variety of sources (NASA, RAND, US Air Force, US Army, US Navy and contractors attending the UV Europe (Wales) and AUVSI North America (Washington DC) conferences).

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July 2009 - Model development commencing with conceptual analysis and then beginning to map the ExtendSim blocks into their required functions.

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June 22, 2009 - Unfortunately, progress in my project (UAV logistic support modelling) has been hampered over the last three months, but is getting underway. The plan from here is to develop the model over the next couple of weeks and then begin the analysis phase. I will be able to report much more in my progress report for the next quarter.

Agri-Food Supply Chains

Model a sustainable supply chain where social and environmental aspects are considered together with the financial concerns

Arab Academy for Science, Technology & MaritimeGhada Yehia
Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime

Masters in Industrial Engineering
Grant awarded: January 2016
To be completed: December 2018


Project description.

Agri-food supply chains inventory management has a vital great importance due to the product perishability and customers' need for quality.

This work concentrates on developing a simulation model of a three or more echelon production-distribution system for agri-food products that have limited lifetime in order to consider the inventory management considering farming process, product's deterioration rate and the variable and sometimes long transportation lead time taking also into consideration the environmental aspect to have a complete sustainable supply chain.


Questions this research will answer.

Parameters affecting deterioration of a perishable good.

How to decrease the lost sales.

Increase the profit.

Increase the service level.

Decrease post harvest wastes including carbon emissions affecting environment.

Pricing strategy with respect to product shelf life.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

Review the supply chain as a whole for a specific perishable product (most probably will be oranges as Egypt is one of the great producers and exporter for oranges).

Focus on three echelon of the supply chain like suppliers (framers) then the production facility (factory) then the delivery at the distribution center (at Europe) in case more data will available we shall extend the supply chain till the retailers and customers.

Investigate the transportation means and deterioration rates and other parameters in the a/m echelons.

Collect all types of data (i.e. structural, operational, and numerical) related to each echelon.

Statistically analyze the collected numerical data and use distribution fittings.

Analyze the problem based on the given distributions and try to increase service level, decrease carbon emissions, decrease the lost sales due to decay.

Develop a conceptual model by building a simple basic model and gradually build complexity.

Develop an ExtendSim simulation robust model, a discrete event simulation model to allow different optimization scenarios, different control strategies to be altered easily without having to develop different models for each proposed solution.

Build optimization capability into the developed model after verifying and validating it against the real system's collected data.

Develop a 3D animation model to easily show the current problem.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

Distribution fitting during data collection.

Simulating the flow of of product between different echelon.

Monitor changes on product lifetime (shelf life).

Simulating the different proposed solutions for improving the performance and different pricing strategies.

Reporting and collecting statistics.

Applying Optimization using simulation to reach the best quality,cost, environmental aspects.

Using 3D animation to illustrate the impact of different proposed solutions.


What is unique about this project?

Monitor a perishable fruit decay rate using Extendsim.

Increase the product shelf life by monitoring it and capturing its flaws.

Increase the service level at each echelon.

Figure out problem on a daily used product in a developing country.

Decrease post-harvest waste which is one of the disasters the world is facing and with regrets it is a secondary objective after revenue and cost.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Although there is an increased interest towards Food Supply Chain Management, there is still few research works with the prime attention towards FSCM; it is expected that papers concerned with ASC shall increase in the upcoming years due to the world concern with sustainability and from the customer perspective due to change in nutrition which results in more consumption of fruits and vegetables.

In Agri-food industry, perishable products such as vegetables, fruits, milk...etc. play an important role in our daily life; efforts are done to let the FSCM be part from sustainable supply chain where social and environmental aspects are considered together with the financial concerns. Perishable goods start deteriorating from the moment they are harvested and continue deterioration through the production, distribution and consumption phases.

ExtendSim has proven to be a very powerful simulation and optimization tool. As our department in our university AASTMT is an ExtendSim Adopter; through the postgraduate courses I have been introduced to the package in one of the courses and we were able to develop complete simulation models for different systems.

In my undergraduate courses at Alexandria University i have been introduced to a different simulation program in my Bachelor degree project it was my 1st use of simulation as a optimization solution imaginary technique; using Extendsim after that completed that magic in an imaginary way.


What will be learned from your research?

Increase my knowledge of communication using 3D animation simulation models.

Fitting the collected data using distribution fitters.

Optimization using simulation.

It is no doubt that the holistic view of supply chain would be useful for the real life and would help in solving real life problems but on the other hand it increase the complexity of modeling and management, but simulation using Extendsim will decrease this complexity.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

Fruits and vegetables' key driver is their freshness and one of the key measurements of freshness is the visual cues which depends on the shelf life as they have the property of fast deterioration with time; which make them differ from classical EOQ Inventory which assumed infinite shelf life for stored goods; consequently inventory is gaining high attention as it acts as a buffer against the demand and transportation.

Building a model to monitor the decay of a perishable product for a massive exporter country as Egypt with respect to cost and environmental aspects.


Publications

March 31, 2017 - There is a call for papers through the International Journal of Production Economics to address the innovation to manufacturing supply chains; a paper is under preparation for this topic.


Updates

March 31, 2017 - There are two contradictory statuses all over the world; some countries are producing food more than their needs which results in food waste, on the other hand -according to FAO - from 2014 to 2016, 1 of every 9 persons in the world suffered from undernourished, about 795 million people globally.

Yehia model

As food supply chain is considered as a complex one due to different echelons involved ; there are alot of wastes resulting; the significant wastes can be summed in the CO2 emissions, water and perished/lost food.

Sustainable food supply chain can be defined as a network system that combines environmental, social, health and economic aspects to make us live in a better world.

The development of supply chain sustainability can be reached in several ways by applying them separately or combining them.

Sustainability-oriented innovation is the key way out of poverty and hunger. The establishment of new products, processes and management systems that have an overall positive effect on the capital stock of a company, can be achieved by addressing environmental, social, and economic goals.

Simulation by Extendsim for a 2 echelons supply chain will enable us to evaluate and analyze the perishability of orange finding the best ways to decrease the wastes and increase system performance.

NewBioenergy Supply Chain and Logistics

Virginia TechVulnerability, Risk and Resilience Approaches for Bioenergy Supply Chain and Logistics

Devita McCullough-Amal
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Phd in Industrial Systems Engineering
Grant awarded: August 30, 2017
To be completed: December 31, 2018


Hypothesis.

If appropriate mitigation strategies are implemented, then increases in performance will be observed for select members of the supply chain.


Project description.

Biomass supply chainBioenergy, in the form of lignocellulosic biomass, sugars and starches, offer significant potential to alleviate climate change by mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the dependence on fossil based energy sources. However, many questions remain regarding the performance of the bioenergy supply chain under various risks and disruptions, along with implications of potential mitigation strategies. This study seeks to address these questions and provide insight on the design of robust biomass supply chain systems.


Questions this research will answer.

What are the implications of biomass supply disruptions on the performance of the supply chain?

What mitigation strategies can improve the performance of the supply chain?


How research strategy will be designed to help answer these questions.

Develop a modeling framework that quantifies the performance of the biomass supply chain.

Evaluate the supply chain impacts that result from disruption in biomass supply.

Determine the effectiveness risk mitigation strategies on the operational and financial stability of the biomass supply chain.


How ExtendSim will be used in this project.

ExtendSim will be used for the development of the discrete event simulation of the harvest and operational activities of the biomass supply chain.


What is unique about this project?

This work is unique in that we develop a holistic model of biomass supply chain, and quantify the performance of the supply chain using this developed model. As opposed to previous biomass models, this model intends to examine the supply chain at a higher resolution, and taking an integrated systems approach which accounts for external systems not previously considered such as market demand, rate of grower participation, etc.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

To date, the uncertainty associated with various forms of biomass supply risks have been problematic for the bioenergy industry. There is great interest in devising solutions that can help to tackle these problems and advance the industry.


What impact will this research make to the existing current state of knowledge?

This research has enormous learning potential, particularly in the areas of upstream management of biomass supply risk, viable mitigation strategies, and holistic supply chain model development.


Publications

Amal, D., A. Salado, and E. Webb. 2017. Modeling Biomass Supply Chain Disruptions in the US. ASABE Annual International Meeting, July 16-19, 2017 Spokane, Washington, USA

Amal, D., A. Salado, and E. Webb. 2017. Biomass Supply Chain Risk: A Systematic Review. ASABE Annual International Meeting, July 16-19, 2017 Spokane, Washington, USA

McCullough, D., R.D. Grisso, and J.S. Cundiff. 2013. Discrete Event Simulation of Switchgrass Harvest Schedules. ASABE Paper and Presentation. St. Joseph, MI:ASABE

Grisso, R.D., D. McCullough, J.S. Cundiff, and J. Judd. 2013. Harvest schedule to fill storage for year-round delivery of grasses to biorefinery. Biomass & Bioenergy

Closed Loop Supply Chains

Dublin City UniversityHydrological analysis of the water resource system at Honghe Hani Rice Terraces

Jonathan Ebner
Dublin City University

PhD in Manufacturing Engineering
Grant awarded: September 2015
To be completed: January 2018


Project description.

Strategy to manage and control reverse flows of goods at the end of use or end of life products. Closed loop supply chain implementation methodologies PhD research.

The field of reverse logistics and closed loop supply chains have been broadly underresearched at the present, hence a great demand for further development has been vital for a better operational and economic efficiency of the productive sector. My doctorate research project will address exactly that and will provide higher quality standardized metric and procedures for the design, persuasion and implementation of profitable CLSC systems.


Questions this research will answer.

Economic advantages and inherent incentives for CLSP


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

Through simulation models and mathematically. Numerous major variables directly related to the closed loop supply chain will be plugged into to my experimental model in order to precisely measure improvements that can be offered to partitioners in the CLSC field.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

ExtendSim models will treat sets of data I will gather from mathematical models output, from statistically filtered data, histograms and statistics provided from peer reviewed articles, business cases and related recent publications. Then, it will be compiled in a intelligible fashion to produce visual scenarios where companies or public entities can see the advantages of CLSC over the long run.


What is unique about this project?

Its environmental considerations for carbon trade and related applicable legislations.

The unique benefits of closed loop supply chains include, but are not limited to: The decreased dependency of commodities, ability to offset business cycles as companies closing the loop have much greater power to control and manage their markets and technologies, higher energy efficiency, access to subsidies for better environmental performance, higher capacity to enhance the continuous improvement and to further the research and development processes, among others.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

It is very relevant in terms of technological development and financially.


What will be learned from your research?

Feasibility of cleaner technologies and improved efficiency.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

Improved economic efficiency with considerations to environmental legislations.


Publications

Smew, W., P. Young, and J. Geraghty. "Supply chain analysis using simulation, Gaussian process modelling and optimisation." International Journal of Simulation Modelling 12.3 (2013): 178-189.

NewCoastal & Marine Environment Management

Aristotle University of ThessalonikiDevelop integrated simulation models, to assess and evaluate alternative, strategic management and spatial planning scenarios/options, concerning Thermaikos gulf, Greece

Zoi Konstantinou
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

PostDoc project in Coastal and Marine Management
Grant awarded: April 2017
To be completed: July 2019


Project description.

One of the main challenges which contemporary social-ecological research has to face is the development of appropriate methods and innovative tools to support efficiently the development of management policies related to the coastal and marine environments. The variety of environmental conditions, the differences in social-economic conditions as well as the cultural and institutional variations which may occur in these environments, call for specialised solutions with local and regional character but always drawing from the international experience. The current post-doctoral research aims in the development of integrated simulation models, which will assess and evaluate alternative, strategic management and spatial planning scenarios/options, concerning Thermaikos gulf, Greece, taking into account environmental, social, economic and legal/institutional parameters. Through the development and implementation of these scientific tools the researcher will extract specific policy development guidelines in local level, as well as generalised institutional recommendations in national level, aiming in addressing the current legal gaps concerning coastal management and marine spatial planning in Greece.

Questions this research will answer.

Which are the main policy issues concerning the coastal and marine management in the area of Thermaikos gulf currently, how are those addressed through the legal framework and which are the main management and spatial planning needs of the area?

Concerning the future coastal and marine management of the area, which are the main scenarios of management and spatial planning which should be researched so that the local policy-makers and stakeholders can take informed and efficient decisions? Which environmental, social, economic and institutional indicators should be evaluated through this process?

Which scientific tools/simulation models should be developed to achieve the aforementioned?

How can these tools be utilised for the development of appropriate and effective legal framework which can lead in more efficient management and spatial planning of coastal and marine activities?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

To answer the aforementioned questions, this research will combine and reform, when and if necessary, elements from Unesco's guide for Marine Spatial Planning (Ehler & Douvere 2009) and the Systems Approach Framework for coastal zones, utilizing GIS technologies and taking under account the local priorities. The research strategy is designed in 4 steps:

1. Data Collection, Geographical representation and Spatial analysis: to collect, combine, spatially represent (through GIS) and analyse environmental, social, economic and institutional data available for the area of interest.

2. Questionnaire Survey and Prioritization to:

i.   identify the local policy-makers and stakeholders with interests on the research subject

ii.  interview them regarding the policy issues of priority regarding the coastal and marine management of the area

iii. interview them regarding the policy issues of priority regarding the coastal and marine management of the area

3. Development of integrated management tools: to evaluate the current management and spatial planning conditions and to compare them with a variety of alternative scenarios, aiming to identify appropriate practices to improve environmental conditions, promote sustainable development and resolve existing conflicts. This part is the backbone of the research. To overcome time limitations the development of the integrated tools will focus on the two management issues prioritised as most important through the questionnaire survey.

4. Develop guidelines for policy development regarding integrated coastal management and marine spatial planning: by utilizing both the development and results of the integrated management tools.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

ExtendSim will be the main software for the development of the integrated management tools. Although other programming languages (as Fortran) may be used to simulate parts of the system, ExtendSim will be the main platform to be used for the integration of the data and information, for the development of the majority of modelling subroutines and for the illustration of the tools. The presentation capabilities and flexibility of ExtendSim, the provided tools and tool libraries as well as the flexibility in developing tailor-made tools when necessary is ideal to handle issues of environmental management and to combine knowledge, while the result can be light and with a friendly user interface.


What is unique about this project?

Coastal and marine environments are paramount to the socio-economic performance and well-being of societies. Knowledge-based management and spatial planning through science-policy-society integration, is:

i.   key in unlocking the potential for sustainability and blue growth

ii. highly topical within the scientific community

iii. a crucial implementation prerequisite for all the EU directives.

Yet, the potential of such science-driven efforts is frequently inhibited, due to lack of balance in the system's analysis, between the social- and -environmental components and due to prioritization of the selection of scientific methods before consultation with policy and society is achieved. This research project aims to develop an analysis and decision-support framework to achieve balanced, knowledge-based, Social-Environmental coastal and marine management, by:

a. rethinking the challenges that inhibit transdisciplinarity

b. proposing novel approaches to overcome them

c. implementing them in an area with complex social-environmental nature to provide proof of concept

d. reflecting on the good practices, lessons learned and future prospects.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

As a Marine Scientist with a PhD in Integrated Coastal Management I have a deep understanding of the importance of coastal and marine management for the welfare of societies as well as of the immense risks that inadequate management and spatial planning posses to these social-ecological systems. Scientific models, integrating social-environmental components into common frameworks are among the most utilised tools for analysis, communication and decision-making, yet besides their phenomenal implementation actual integration remains elusive, and knowledge-based decision-making, is scarcely achieved. Through this project I want to try to challenge and transform the existing approaches, to create an alternative transdisciplinary framework of social-environmental management and spatial planning, aiming to assist decision-support in coastal and marine management.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to learn more about Integrated, social-ecological, coastal and marine systems management and most importantly I expect to deepen on the ways in which integrated, social-environmental modelling can be beneficial for policy development, for stakeholders engagement and for science-policy-society integration.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I would like to work on the hypothesis, through practical examples, that in the use of integrated simulation models for the development of policy in issues of environmental management, the balanced and well-targeted representation of the system (environmental-social-economic components) and the prioritization of social interests are more important than the immense detail in the environmental systems' representation. I also want to contribute on the scientific discussion regarding the role of transdisciplinary science in shaping new understanding and promoting social learning and societal change.


Additional Comments

This research proposal has been already selected for personnel funding from the National Scholarship Foundation of Greece. The research is expected to begin before in July 2017. Since the funding only covers personnel costs, the ExtendSim research grand will be extremely beneficial for the development of the research. I have previously worked with ExtendSim and thus I know its advantages.


Publications

Konstantinou Z.I. Kompiadou K. and Krestenitis Y.N., 2015. "Effective mussel-farming governance in Greece: Testing the guidelines through models, to evaluate sustainable management alternatives". Ocean and Coastal Management 118(B): 247-258. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2015.05.011.

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Konstantinou Z.I. and Krestenitis Y.N., 2013. "An Overview of the SAF implementation regarding the stakeholders' response, in the mussel farming area of Chalastra, Thermaikos Gulf". In: Moksness, E., Dahl, E. and Støttrup, J. (Eds.) Global Challenges in Integrated Coastal Zone Management. Wiley-Blackwell Ltd. ISBN 978-0-470-65756-0, pp:117-126.

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Konstantinou Z.I., Krestenitis Y.N., Latinopoulos D., Pagou K.,Gallinou-Mitsoudi S. and Savvidis Y., 2012. "Aspects of the mussel farming activity in Chalastra, Thermaikos Gulf, Greece: an effort to untie a management Gordian knot", Ecology and Society, 17(1),1. doi: 10.5751/ES-04455-170101

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Latinopoulos D., Konstantinou Z. and Krestenitis Y., 2012. "Simulation and multicriteria analysis in sustainable coastal planning: the case of aquaculture in Thermaikos Gulf, Greece", Environment, Development and Sustainability, 14(6):1027-1045. doi: 10.1007/s10668-012-9370-8.

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Konstantinou Z.I. and Krestenitis N.Y., 2012. "Working together with managers to upgrade a tool for Integrated Coastal Zone Management of a Greek mussel-farming area", 6th International Congress of Environmental Modelling and Software, Leipzig, Germany 2-7 July 2012.

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Konstantinou Z.I., Savvidis Y., Kombiadou K & Krestenitis Y.N. (2011), "Mussel farm layouts as management scenarios", MEDCOAST '11, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Mediterranean coastal environment", Rhodes, Greece, ISBN 978-605-88990-8-7, pp.B.735-746. and others.

Forest Machine Systems

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Compare and contrast traditional two machine to single-machine forest systems

Petter Berggren
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Bachelor in Forest Technology
Grant awarded: February 2017
To be completed: May 2017


Project description.

Two different forest machine systems delivers roundwood to roadside. The traditional system consists of two machines: a harvester (felling trees) and a forwarder (hauling trees to roadside). The single-machine system consists of a harwarder, doing both felling and hauling. Our research aims to compare productivity and economy between the two systems. A simulation tool is needed to model the systems working at different forest types and extraction distances.

Questions this research will answer.

Under what felling conditions is one system better than the other?

When and if the one-machine system is more efficient than the conventional two-machine system?

How big is the difference in productivity?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

We will build models of the machine systems in the simulation program (using discrete-event simulation). Regarding input data, we will use existing time studies (machine productivities).


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

As an instrument, simulating different working conditions for both machine systems.


What is unique about this project?

It has been a long time since studies like this have been conducted, and we want to update this area with new knowledge. We will model machines not being used yet in conventional forest management.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

We'd like to update the research in this area. We want to evaluate the new machines systems that have been developed during the last years


What will be learned from your research?

We expect to learn more about ExtendSim and its capabilities to simulate different scenarios within our research field.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

Update old results with new knowledge using data from modern machines, taking advantage of the opportunities for discrete-event simulation modelling in ExtendSim.


Publications

B. Talbot , T. Nordfjell & K. Suadicani. "Assessing the Utility of Two Integrated Harvester-Forwarder Machine Concepts Through Stand-Level Simulation". International Journal of Forest Engineering  (2003), 14:2, 31-43

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ExtendSim has been used in a Doctoral thesis at our university: Eriksson, Anders. "Improving the Efficiency of Forest Fuel Supply Chains". Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Department of Energy and Technology. (2016).

Healthcare Management

Wroclaw University of TechnologyDevelopment of a general methodology for applying simulation-based decision support for regional healthcare decision making

Marek Lubicz
Wroclaw University of Technology

PostDoc project in Healthcare Management
Grant awarded: March 2011
To be completed: March 2018


Project description.

The Post-doc Habilitation project is concerned with application of operational research and information technology for managerial decision making in the health systems. There are four main research areas:

i.   State of the art in ORAHS/HealthIT.

ii. Analysis of regional data bases of the healthcare system in Lower Silesia region of Poland.

ii. Development of simulation (DES) model of the regional health system.

ii. Development of decision-support frameworks for supporting regional health management decision making (dynamic and spatial profiles, health needs assessment, regional health priority setting, regional allocation decisions). 


Questions this research will answer.

As described under (ii),(iii),(iv) above. In particular, as far as ExtendSim could be concerned, the questions deal with the horizontal and vertical modeling of a regional health system, understood as a structure containing:

Population/demographic module - e.g. to what extent it is feasible to model 3.5 million individuals living in Lower Silesia, what are the most efficient approaches to model demographic and epidemiological processes

Health services module - resumably restricted to hospital care and all forms of care for a specific disease group: lung cancer patients

Financial module - periodical regional investment decisions and monthly allocation/reimbursement decisions of the regional branch of National Health Fund


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

The strategy is partly visible from the outline of (i)-(iv) research areas above. In particular I have collected the references (5000+ including research results of the EURO Working Group and the regional databases (2005-2010). In the Spring 2011, it is planned to finalize bibliometric analysis and develop conceptual model, while around May/June I would like to start working on the simulation modeling.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

Development of a discrete event simulation model of the regional healthcare system as outlined above.


What is unique about this project?

There are few research results in modelling and simulation of complex regional healthcare systems (see Brailsford S.C., Lattimer V.A., Tarnaras P., Turnbull J.C. (2004). Emergency and on-demand health care: modelling a large complex system. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 55(1), 34-42).

There are no references in Polish which deal with such general approach for regional modelling.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

It is closely connected to my membership in the EURO Working Group Operational Research Applied to Health Services I belong to for many years. On the other hand, I have initially planned to use Arena, but after discussions with Dr Zabawa from my Institute I have decided to try modelling with ExtendSim (Dr Zabawa had been recently accepted for ExtendSim Adopter Program, but - as far as I understand - it is not allowed to use the software you sent him for a research program. In fact my habilitation project is fully non-commercial, the results will be published in a monograph I work on as well as in articles or conference presentations.


What will be learned from your research?

In the part of my research project which could involve ExtendSim I would like to investigate how using ExtendSim (in cooperation with Dr Zabawa) would compare with analogous modelling using Arena or Monte Carlo modelling (in cooperation with Mielczarek).

Another further result of the project could be development of a manual for teaching purposes which could be used for my courses for students on Quantitative Approaches for Managerial Decision Making.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I would like to develop a general methodology of applying simulation-based decision support for regional healthcare decision making.


Publications

Research Grants

Selected Publications

Lubicz M. (2017) "Applications of Operations Research and Intelligent Techniques in the Health Systems: A Bibliometric Analysis". In: Świątek J., Wilimowska Z., Borzemski L., Grzech A. (eds) Information Systems Architecture and Technology: Proceedings of 37th International Conference on Information Systems Architecture and Technology – ISAT 2016 – Part III. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 523. Springer, Cham


Updates

April 18, 2017 - The project has been further suspended due to my teaching and other academic obligations, as well as the involvement of Dr Zabawa, who was the main creator of the simulation model using ExtendSim software, in other academic projects. I would like to apply for an extension of the research grant from September 2017, which is the earliest date I could think of reinstating this research project, until March 2018, when the subsequent semester with heavy teaching is scheduled.

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September 3, 2016 - Due to unforeseen academic obligations, extensive teaching, involvement in other academic projects by myself (including papers at 28th European Conference on Operational Research, July 3-6, 2016 and 37th International Conference on Information Systems Architecture and Technology, 18-20 September 2016, as well as my research work on the next monograph - the book mentioned in my October 2015 update was published in December 2015), and also by Dr Zabawa, this project has been frozen for the Summer semester 2016. I presume that the project will be reinstated from the beginning of the new semester (October 2016), and the realistic completion date for version 2.0 (simplified) of the simulation model of the regional health system is June 2017.

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October 2, 2015 - According to my explanations in the January 14, 2015 update, I spent the past few months working on the book "Application of Operations Research and Intelligent Techniques in Health Systems. A Bibliometric Analysis" (in Polish). The 450-page edited manuscript had been accepted for printing this Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Now it is the time to return to our large simulation project, concerned with modelling regional healthcare system, and - to the 2013 version of the global model (here is a graphic of the 2013 Healthcare System model structure).

Lubicz modelToday we discussed with Dr Jacek Zabawa the possible first steps, starting from solving technical problems to checking all the modules, some of which had been developed in previous versions of ExtendSim. We presume, that our actual plans and schedules will be finalized, as well as all technical issues will be fixed, by the end of October, 2015. It is however a very complex and difficult modelling project, so we could expect working results to be finalized not earlier than April-May 2016 (we both do extensive teaching and other academic research work as well).

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January 14, 2015 - My initial plan was to complete the PostDoc project by September 21, 2013. The project comprised a number of research goals, one of which was the development of the simulation model of the regional healthcare system. That was the reason for applying for ExtendSim Grant. Because the research work turned out to be much more complicated than initially expected, I had established research cooperation on the simulation model with Dr Jacek Zabawa. We continued the work on the healthcare simulation part (of the PostDoc project) in 2013 and in the first half of the 2014, when the cooperation slowed down due to other academic commitments (including my work on the other research goals of the PostDoc project), to be restarted at full speed at the very end of 2014.

I continue working on the second version of the book documenting research results in the PostDoc project (the first version was submitted in November 2013 and the reviews suggested extensive re-work, so I focused my scientific efforts mainly on the book);
the PostDoc project is continuing, in particular its simulation modelling (ExtendSim-based) part is continuing, though slower than planned, while the contents of the part remained unchanged: development of an advanced simulation model of the regional healthcare system;
current realistic timing is to achieve substantial progress with the model during the next semester (February-September 2015).

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January 14, 2015 - The research work on the initial project tasks had been frozen for the most of 2014 due to other academic commitments, and has been restarted from January 2015. Nevertheless, extensive research on simulation modelling of the health systems using ExtendSim environment was continued during 2014, resulting in a number of presentations during local seminars, as well as one main presentation during the 4th International Conference on Simulation and Modeling Methodologies, Technologies and Applications in Vienna, Austria in August 2014. The paper 'A System Dynamics Model to Study the Impact of an Age Pyramid on Emergency Demand' by Bozena Mielczarek, Jacek Zabawa and Marek Lubicz was presented during a special session on Health Applications and is available at the SCITEPRESS Digital Library. Further publications are in preparation. We will report on the next phase of our ExtendSim based research at the end of next semester (around September 2015).

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September 30, 2013 - In the last few months we have worked out an advanced version of the ExtendSim based simulation model of a regional system of hospital care, based on data from Lower Silesian region, Poland. Some results have been presented in the presentation Advanced Simulation Models of Regional Healthcare Systems during the 34th International Conference Information Systems Architecture and Technology.

The roles of the authors have been as follows:

Marek Lubicz - Conceptual simulation model of the regional system for data mining part of the project, including data processing and statistical distribution fitting using Stat::Fit software, as well for planning and performing simulation experiments.

Jacek Zabawa - Author of the computer implementation of the model in ExtendSim environment.

Having finished the second part of the project, we now work on the extending the model for a number of hospital stays and including advanced logical processing modules, namely healthcare pathways analysis and financial analysis. This work is a continuation of our joint research cooperation.

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 April 8, 2013 - I am writing to report recent news concerning my ExtendSim grant. First of all, in cooperation with Dr. Jacek Zabawa of Wroclaw University of Technology, research work on modelling regional healthcare systems has been well advanced using ExtendSim AT. The first module of the regional model with patient arrivals from 29 districts within the region has been modelled. Research and modelling work on further modules is in progress.

Lubicz model - WroclawWe will be working on a publication to report current results with ExtendSim modelling throughout this month of April and in May.I will send you a copy of the paper with link to the conference web page once the paper has been completed.

The other update is the NSC National Science Center grant closing date has once again been extended. Due to the complexity of the project, the grant is extended until September 21, 2013.

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September 28, 2012 - I would like to inform you that due to technical circumstances the NSC - National Science Center grant final closing date, I planned to use the ExtendSim software for, was extended last week until March 21, 2013. I will contact you in 3 months time to report further progress.

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June 14, 2012 - Our main project, financed in part by the Polish National Research Council (NRC), has been extended to be completed with the final report by the very complex nature of the processes, is scheduled for another extension in coordination with a separate NRC project. Consequently, it is likely that we would continue our cooperation a few more months - through November 2012, and that I will include in my project report only a preliminary version of an ExtendSim model. I will let you know in October what are the achievements and research plans for our regional healthcare system.

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March 17, 2012 - I would like to apologize for not sending the quarterly updates in the last months. Due to my health problems in the last year and resulting delays in other academic obligations I had to postpone the deadline of the project, finally until September 2012.
I will be reporting around June what are the developments on simulation part of my project, in relation to ExtendSim.

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August 30, 2011 - Due to organizational reasons and problems with data collection activities the project completion date has been extended to 21 May, 2012. Time schedule for modelling activities had been corrected accordingly, which in particular means that ExtendSim modelling work has been postponed until the last quarter of 2011.

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June 2, 2011 - The bibliometric and data collection parts of the project are well under way; the publications are in preparation, in particular for the 37th Annual Conference of the EURO Working Group Operational Research Applied to Health Services (Cardiff University, 24-29 July).

According to the strategic assumptions of the research project, the simulation modelling part of the project had been started in the end of May with technical experiments to investigate requirements and premises for modelling a large regional system (population 3 million objects).

Healthcare Network Performance During a Mass Casuality Event

Quantifying resiliency of health care systems in MCIs

University of Maryland

Mersedeh Tariverdi
University of Maryland - College Park

PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Grant awarded: January 2015
To be completed: Summer 2017


Project description.

A queueing system conceptualization of hospitals acting within a coalition will be taken for assessing system performance of a health care network in a mass casualty event. Benefits of possible collaboration policies and various strategies, including information dissemination policies will be studied. Detailed modeling of in-hospital patient care steps, capacity problems, and uncertainties in every entity makes modeling this problem a challenging one.


Questions this research will answer.

Find the best modeling approach of hospital patient care processes during Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs)?

Then, find out how hospitals can benefit from collaborations during a MCI event?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

I will try to model all possible patient routes in hospitals (with different Trauma levels) first, and then look into performance measures in different collaboration scenarios.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

I want to use DES in ExtendSim to model individual hospitals as well as a small health care network.


What is unique about this project?

Very few works have focused on operation of hospitals in MCIs and quantification of collaboration has not been done before.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

This effort is the first set of questions I am trying to answer as part of greater goal of quantifying resiliency of health care systems in MCIs.


What will be learned from your research?

I will show the efficient way of modeling hospitals in MCIs, difference with normal or high-demand period hospital modeling and I will examine the possible ways of collaborations.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I want to show potential increase in number of survivors with collaboration between hospitals and regional MOEs as part of central emergency management during a MCI.


Additional Comments

This step is the first step towards a larger project in which I will try to use my optimization skills to find optimal solutions in mass casualty handling, and to compute the resiliency of health care entities as part of a region-wide network. I will use this primary model in a body of an optimization solutions. ExtendSim provides the tool to model detailed operation routes in hospitals many queueing features I need for this specific modeling task. I feel more comfortable with this software as I can control all entities.


Publications, Report, & Projects

Rivinius, Jessica. "Engineered for Resilience" START, The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. July 25,2016.

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TariVerdi M., Miller-Hooks E., Adan M. "Assignment Strategies for Real-Time Deployment of Disaster Responders" International Journal of Operations and Quantitative Management, Special Issue on Humanitarian Operations Management. January 2015.

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Mollanejad M., Faturechi R., TariVerdi M., Kim M.. "A Generic Heuristic for Maximizing Inventory Slack in the Emergency Medication Distribution Problem". Transportation Research Board 93 Annual Meeting, Washington D.C. 2014.


Updates

March 31, 2017 - Has continued her studies at George Mason University and is now working with a grad student on this project.

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June 23, 2016 -The project is at its final phase. Validation is done and getting results to wrap up the paper.

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February 10, 2016 - I am close to finish tuning and finalizing the individual hospital model and start analysis. And am drafting the first paper.

Due to unforeseen modeling challenges and calibration, this project's completion date is moved up to the Summer of 2016.

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May 4, 2015 - We have the final layout of hospital system model for mass casualty incidents. I just began to code in extendsim. Previous models have to be totally updated.

NewHealthcare Network Performance - follow up project

George Mason UniversityEvaluation of regional healthcare functionality in a disaster

Bahar Shahverdi
George Mason University

PhD in Transportation
Grant awarded: April 2017
To be completed: December 2021


Project description.

Mercedeh Tariverdi has made a hospital model under the supervision of professor Miller-Hooks. What I am trying to do is to continue this model and make my thesis on it.

Up to now Mercedeh has prepared a single hospital model, we will continue to get runs and designs on damaged hospitals and healthcare systems. Until now not many works have been dedicated to quantifying the healthcare system performance in an MCI( Mass Casualty Incident). Or works have mostly studied an individual hospital. We want to fill this gap and evaluate regional healthcare functionality in a disaster.


Questions this research will answer.

Regional response of healthcare system to Mass Casualty Incident.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

It is continuing project done by Mercedeh Tariverdi...."I will try to model all possible patient routes in hospitals (with different Trauma levels) first, and then look into performance measures in different collaboration scenarios."


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

It is healthcare system in a granular level.


What is unique about this project?

This project has not been done before.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

This project has not been done before and this vital part strategize response efforts.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to learn functionality evaluation of regional health care systems using results in an optimization framework.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

Two prior publications are under review done by Mercedeh Tariverdi, I am supposed to continue her models.


Updates

June 27, 2017 - I have been working to learn basic concepts of ExtendSim and working on previous models I have. I am learning the software by watching the tutorial videos and looking at the models that are available to me. I am seeking help from the User Guide to clarify everything for myself. After completely understand these things and getting familiar with ExtendSim, I will modify the models I have and expand them to do my own research.

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Mining Operations

Mine optimization to re-orient mining companies from production maximization to profit maximization

University of Queensland

Kwasi Ampofo
University of Queensland

PhD in Mineral Economics
Grant awarded: June 2016
To be completed: December 2016


Project description.

Real options is a methodology used in evaluating mineral projects, conducting due diligence and assessing strategic decisions of mining companies.

The main challenge of this method has been the complexity of the models used and the complications involved in its application. Over the last two years my thesis has re-engineered how mining companies can implement real options to aid in their strategic and evaluation decision making process.

The main purpose of mine optimisation is to re-orient mining companies from production maximization to profit maximization. My research has developed a framework called the System Real Options to optimise the evaluation process through the introduction of operational flexibility.

It first distinguishes all the major uncertainties of a mine into market (commodity price & foreign exchange) and technical (grade, scheduling, processing and geology). These uncertainties are then modeled and discounted at their source using the real options approach.

Operational flexibility is then introduced into the evaluation through the consideration of management options. This provides management with a host of strategic plans to evaluate, rank and select based on the most optimal value evaluated.


Questions this research will answer.

How can we integrate operational flexibility with strategic mine planning using real options to improve project value?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

I will first need to model and simulate the mine's available plan and introduce operational flexibility.

Based on this, I will now apply real options to evaluate the available options to management as a continuous process.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

I intend to use ExtendSim to model, simulate and optimise the mine process flow and introduce operational flexibility.

I will then subsequently evaluate these options using real options.


What is unique about this project?

It is extending existing knowledge in making real options more practical and implementable in the 'conservative' mining industry particularly in a downtime where all options are being considered.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Real options has enourmous potential in helping the mining industry make valuable choices yet it is seldom applied due to the complexity involved in its application.

Through ExtendSim's support, I hope to visualise the process better for the industry to see the value in options and flexibility. Hopefully, I will be able to offer industry and research a more robust evaluation technique with valuable impact.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to gain a more grounded and practical insight in mine optimisation and project evaluation.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

A system approach in applying real options to mine process optimisation.


Publications

Book

Kwasi Ampofo (2013), "How to improve mining operations with the MHG Mining ERP: A Cost effective approach for improving efficiency in the mining value chain" LAP Lambert Academic Publishers, ISBN-10: 3845433272. (Available on Amazon)

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Chapter in Book

Ampofo K. D. and Adam A., "Mineral investment decision making in Africa: A real options approach in integrating price and environmental risks" Africa Minerals Fortune, to be published by University of Chicago Press.

Multiproduct Pipeline Flow Scheduling

Universita di BolognaModeling a multi-product pipeline system and the corresponding tank farms for the Horn of Africa Project

Katalin Papp
Universita di Bologna

Masters in Chemical Engineering
Grant awarded: April 2016
To be completed: September 2016


Project description.

Verification of pipeline hydraulic configuration at design flow and reduced flow for all the products and during batch transport.

Evaluation of pumping power requirements for each flow scenario.

Calculation of interface contamination volumes.

Determination of pumping, inventory, interface costs.

Construction of a probabilistic simulation model that represents the real system in a sufficiently realistic manner.

Definition of an objective function based on cost minimization.

Verification of project feasibility with the predefined configuration and given storage volumes.

Finding the optimal schedule that specifies timing, sequence and volume of all batched pumped into the pipeline, while continuously monitoring the inventory levels of all tanks involved.

Studying the effect of disturbances, that could be asset breakdown, asset unscheduled maintenance, spot market opportunity and delayed tanker arrival.

Developing an algorithm that dynamically changes the pipeline schedule reacting upon the real time storage and demand conditions.


Questions this research will answer.

Is the HOAPP project feasible with the predefined system configuration?

If it is feasible, how sensitive it is to perturbations, and what is the maximum magnitude of the perturbations the system can handle without going into crisis? (Sensitivity analysis)

What is the optimal schedule to minimize the total operative cost while satisfying the downstream product demand in any case?

Is it worth changing the storage capacities of the original configuration to make the system more robust to perturbations? If yes, what is the optimal configuration for the given foreseen import and export conditions?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

First I had to construct the model, then introduce the different perturbations and study the systems' response to them to evaluate if the original configuration is sufficiently robust. Then I made certain changes to improve the systems' performance, and developed an algorithm that is capable of changing the batch schedule dynamically while keeping the operational costs as low as possible.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

I construct the realistic representation of the complex transportation system implementing all the important constraint, and make the model find the optimal product batch schedule for the given system.


What is unique about this project?

The project is unique because the constructed simulation model could be used in the everyday industrial practice. It implements an event based time representation which is a quite new approach in this field, and although the model is complex, it remains user-friendly, and could be used as a verification of arbitrary batch schedule inputs. It can also change the given schedule dynamically reacting on the real time storage and demand conditions, and can provide the user with schedule alternatives in case of unforeseen perturbations like tanker delays and asset breakdowns.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

I am interested in making difficult problems more simple in this field, because even today the industrial practice is to make batch schedules by hand and verify their feasibility using a software. It is of particular importance that the software can suggest schedule changes, as an optimal operation can save enormous costs. The operator can also check the robustness of the schedule with respect to perturbations, that always occur in real systems with different probability distributions. To sum it up, I am interested because it is useful.


What will be learned from your research?

I am improving to use the software that I find very helpful in achieving my goal. I am convinced that an extended knowledge in using this software gives extra competences to an engineer, because it is not common that an engineer has advanced computational skills.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I would like to further extend my knowledge in using the ExtendSim software, as it has an outstanding capacity of simulating and solving engineering problems.


Updates

August 15, 2016 - With the aid of the Technical Support Group we have improved the model's performance significantly modifying the respective blocks' operational logic.

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June 26, 2016 - I have completed the model for the simulation of the multi-product pipeline system and the corresponding tank farms for the Horn of Africa Project. I made a feasibility study analyzing the required storage volumes (number of required tanks) at the head and destination terminal in order to sufficiently operate the pipeline system, and I found that the number of originally planned storage tanks is insufficiently low when satisfying all operational conditions (minimum and maximum level constraints, 24 hours isolation after loading). I made an optimized monthly tanker arrival schedule in order to satisfy the downstream product demand of the four different products, then I kept this schedule fixed for the whole simulation time (1 year), introducing a delay distribution in order to simulate the tanker arrivals in a more realistic manner. Besides the tanker arrival delays, I introduced further disturbances in the system all occurring randomly during the simulation. These disturbances are the spot market opportunities and the delays in the train and trucks arrival at the destination terminal. Doing so, I analyzed the "robustness" of the system, or in other words its capability of satisfying the downstream demand (which is the most important criterion) when realistic disturbances of different magnitudes occur. Afterwards, I made an optimization of the pipeline batch scheduling, thus I made functions in ExtendSim for the daily evaluation based on different criteria if the original batch schedule (that was given as a preliminary input) was sufficient and if the required volume to be spent in the pipeline was currently available. I found that the original schedule was dynamically changed in function of the stored volumes/available storage volumes at the terminals and in response to the disturbances introduced in the system.

Nanomedicine

USC ViterbiInorganic nanoscale robots used for treatment and prevention of disease

Michael Schlesinger
University of Southern California

Masters in Electrical Engineering
Grant awarded: June 2016
To be completed: May 2017


Project description.

Nanomedicine is a relatively new and particularly broad field. Our focus is inorganic nanoscale robots used for treatment and prevention of disease. Current challenges in this field include fabrication, biocompatibility, functional design, latency, and the physics of scale.

Our group has used ExtendSim in the past for modeling latency nanoscale drug delivery and very much appreciated its flexibility and ease of use.


Questions this research will answer.

We are trying to answer the questions of how to design and fabricate a robot with biopsy, imaging, and drug delivery capabilities.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

We already have background research on biopsy capabilities and will conduct ongoing research into small-scale imaging techniques and alternate methods for drug delivery. We will focus on solutions that can work together within our scale.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

We intend to model the end-to-end process of biopsy sample collection and drug delivery, considering factors including biocompatibility, drug selection, and release timing.


What is unique about this project?

Nanomedicine is a growing field, but our research is truly unique. No one else is trying to create a robot with these specific capabilities, and our team is uniquely suited to make progress in the field.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Nanomedicine is a multidisciplinary field that allows us to combine knowledge from physics, engineering, mathematics, chemistry, biology, anatomy, neuroscience, and many other fields as well. Working at the intersection of all of these fields is exciting.


What will be learned from your research?

We hope to learn more about the process of design for these nanorobots.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

We would like to deliver a functional nanorobot, but this is a long-term goal. Short term, we would like to push our field forward and inspire others to join this growing field of study with our results.


Publications

Nikita Ahuja, Zhuochen Ge, Renjun Liu, Alekhya Sai, Nuduru Pati, Kodiak Ravicz, Mike Schlesinger, Shu Han Wu, Kai Xie, Mary Mehrnoosh Eshaghian-Wilner. "Toward the Design of Body Devices with Wireless Power," International Journal of Nanomedicine and Nanosurgery, April 2016.

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"Review of Nanomedicine," with Amber Bhargava, Janet Cheung, Wan Lee, Kodiak Ravicz, Mike Schlesinger, Yesha Shah, Abhishek Uppal Invited for publication, International Journal of Nano Studies and Technology, to appear in 2016.

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"An Introduction to Nanomedicine," with Amber Bhargava, Janet Cheung, Wan Lee, Krishna Suresh Reddy Padala, Mike Schlesinger, Yesha Shah, and Abbishek Uppall. Excerpt from "Wireless Computing in Medicine and Its Ethical/Legal Implications: From Nano to Cloud", John Wiley & Sons, Inc., July 1, 2016.

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"Concluding Remarks and Future Research in Wireless Computing in Medicine," with Mike Schlesinger. Excerpt from "Wireless Computing in Medicine and Its Ethical/Legal Implications: From Nano to Cloud", John Wiley & Sons, Inc., July 1, 2016.

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"Wireless Power for Body Devices," with Nikita Ahuja, Zhuochen Ge, Renjun Liu, Alekhya Sai Nuduru Pati, Kodiak Ravicz, Mike Schlesinger, Shu Han Wu. 9th Nano Congress for Next Generation, Manchester, UK, August 1-2, 2016.

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"Status and Modeling of Nanomedicine," with Amber Bhargava, Janet Cheung, Wan Lee, Kodiak Ravicz, Mike Schlesinger, Yesha Shah, Abhishek Uppal. 6th Global Experts Meeting & Expo on Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, Dubai, April 21-23, 2016.

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Edited the Book Chapter by Mary Mehrnoosh Eshaghian-Wilner, Amber Bhargava, Wan Lee, Mike Schlesinger, Abbhishek Uppall and Janet Cheung, "An Introduction to Nanomedicine," in Wireless Computing in Medicine and Its Ethical/Legal Implications: From Nano to Cloud, 1st ed. New York: Wiley, 2016, ch 10.

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Edited the Book Chapter by Mary Mehrnoosh Eshaghian-Wilner and Mike Schlesinger, "Concluding Remarks," in Wireless Computing in Medicine and Its Ethical/Legal Implications: From Nano to Cloud, 1st ed. New York: Wiley, 2016, ch 21.

Oil & Gas Subsea Production

Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyCompare and contrast oil and gas production in a subsea environment and in topside facilities.

Tianqi Sun
Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Masters in Production Assurance
Grant awarded: January 2017
To be completed: June 11, 2017


Project description.

Subsea environmentProduction availability analysis has shown its potential in system optimization. Two main approaches, namely analytical approach and simulation approach, are used for the analysis. ExtendSim will be used in this process to reveal the use of simulation approach and provide numerical results for the study. As the subsea production becoming a new trend in oil and gas industry, identifying the influencing factor and exploring how to conduct the analysis in a subsea environment will be carried out.


Questions this research will answer.

I want to explore the use of simulation approach for production assurance in subsea environment and compare it with the result from the topside facilities.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

A typical subsea production model will be built based on the support from DNV GL. Then the influencing factors of production performance in subsea will be identified and added to it to get the necessary data.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

The simulation of the system performance based on the failure data, maintenance strategy and so on are carried out in ExtendSim.


What is unique about this project?

Research on production assurance is mainly for onshore or offshore facilities, the analysis on subsea facilities could be really different due to the distinct environment. I want to explore the influence of this difference on the system.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Currently, many conservative designs are widely used in the existing subsea systems due to the fear of accident, which makes the system cumbersome and extremely expensive. I want to explore whether this is necessary and to optimise the system.


What will be learned from your research?

I will get more knowledge on simulation modelling, subsea production systems and the main contributors to their production loss.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

A model for a simplified subsea production system will be built to test how subsea environment influences production performance modelling and a better understanding of the subsea systems is expected.

Operations Management

Virginia TechResource allocation management for the healthcare industry

Franklin Warren
Virginia Tech

PhD in Business Information Technology
Grant awarded: September 2009
To be completed: TBD


Project description.

The health care industry in the United States is currently undergoing a tremendous state of turmoil. Health care service providers of all types including doctors, hospitals, urgent care facilities, therapists, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation and vocational training facilities are being pressured to provide high levels of service with limited resources and capacity problems. Many facilities are experiencing high utilization, and shrinking income and profit margins. No sector of the industry is immune from the crisis that the industry is currently experiencing. The economic conditions; faced by patients, doctors and health care providers in the United States has stressed the health care services industry.

To better understand and model resource allocation problems in the healthcare industry, we will model the admissions and resource allocation processes at a comprehensive statewide rehabilitation center. The center aids individuals with disabilities and assists them in achieving greater independence and quality of life. The Center currently has a backlog of clients requesting admission and anticipates an overall increase in request for services -- from high school graduates with disabilities entering the workforce, to wounded soldiers returning to civilian life. The increased demand for services and diversity of client needs has created a backlog in the admissions process and an uneven use of resources. Previous assessments of capacity for the center need to be re-evaluated given the changing mix of clients and client needs.

We propose to use ExtendSim to:

Develop a simulation model of the facilities processes, including client scheduling, and suggest and assess revisions to procedures and key performance measures.

Review the Center’s patient classification and flow to improve capacity and utilization effectiveness. We anticipate testing various scheduling methods via the simulation model and assessing their significance with a four-factor ANOVA.


Questions this research will answer.

How can we improve the scheduling and utilization of resources by healthcare facilities?

How do multiple objectives and policy constraints in a non-profit agency affect the allocation of resources?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

The initial phase of the project will involve data collection and acquisition, including employee interviews and site visits to the rehabilitation facility. The second phase will involve the design, development and testing of the facility simulation model.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

Due to the multipurpose nature of ExtendSim OR, it has the capabilities to handle several problems that arise concerning the rehabilitation center's ability to schedule patients. The simulation package will be used to fully model the complex nature of patient scheduling and resource utilization.


What is unique about this project?

By assisting the rehabilitation center with its scheduling and capacity issues, we will be able to increase the number of clients that the center is capable of servicing, improving the quality of life and standard of living for many individuals living with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We will also gain insight into the challenges and opportunities of healthcare resource allocation which will be useful for absorbing the increased demand for healthcare services anticipated with the expansion of healthcare coverage in the U.S.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

I have been interested in and involved with the health care industry for the majority of my life. When you are able to give someone the opportunity to improve their quality of life and standard of living it truly gives you a since of pride in helping others achieve seemingly impossible goals. By developing models that will allow the rehabilitation center to improve resource utilization, capacity planning, and scheduling I will aid the center in increasing the number of clients that they are able to service.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to learn new modeling techniques and methodologies that will assist in the development and delivery of innovative process scheduling and capacity utilization in the health care services sector.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I would like to develop methodologies that will allow rehabilitation facilities, and other health care service providers to fully utilize resources in assisting and servicing clients.


Publications

“Determining Capacity in a Healthcare Organization with Changing Client Mix,” a presentation for the Decision Sciences Institute 2009 Annual Meeting.


Updates

June 29, 2015 - Research continues at the rehabilitation center. The simulation model has been further refined to include additional operational components of the rehabilitation center. This change was made in order to completely represent the true conditions encountered at the center, and to further test all conditions that clients experience as they matriculate at the rehabilitation center. Methodologies developed in determining scheduling processes in private rehabilitation appear to give insight to other health care environments. The capabilities of the ExtendSim OR platform are paramount in simulating, and replicating the conditions found in this environment. Through the use of this model, the center will be able to better predict the flow of patients through the facility, more effectively allocate resources and, as a result, serve more clients. The research conducted in this will be presented at the 2015 Decision Science Institute Conference this November in Seattle Washington in preparation for project completion in December of this year.

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April 2, 2012 - Research utilizing the ExtendSim OR platform continues at the rehabilitation center. The change in platform from ExtendSim AT has allowed us to build a more robust model, capable of evaluating and modeling various input streams. The center continues to undergo changes and the simulation model will allow management to better predict how those changes will impact resource utilization. Further testing of alternative operational scenarios will continue as the center strives to improve the quality of life for its clients and their families.

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May 9, 2011 - Research continues at the vocational rehabilitation center. Recently the center underwent a major audit, from which changes were made that will have a significant impact on the current model. The changes that were made will have an impact in the services that the center delivers as well as the overall utilization of the centers resources. Like many other facilities that are supported by state and federal dollars the rehabilitation center has experienced a change in resource allocation due to the changes in the economy. As a result of the changing environment within the rehabilitation center, and the changing economy, administrators of the facility would like to utilize the simulation model once updated to reflect the current environment within the center to test additional operational scenarios. With the help of the centers administrators and employees we will continue to utilize ExtendSim OR to assist the center in improving service delivery, and helping their client to achieve a higher quality of life and standard of living.

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September 24, 2010 - Research at the rehabilitation center continues to progress as expected. The simulation model was presented during a poster session at the POMS Health Care Mini Conference in Vancouver Canada. Since that time we have further refined the model to show the utilization of resources and capacity limitations within the center. Work continues to further define and evaluate the test factors for the simulation of the center.

The ExtendSim OR package has allowed us to build a model that employees and executives can understand. We will continue to use ExtendSim to complete the project, and as the platform of choice for future simulation research.

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POMS Conference 2010March 10, 2010 - Since the inception of the research grant I have developed the preliminary model of the rehabilitation center, and converted the model from the initial platform to ExtendSim OR. This conversion will allow us to collect additional data from the model, and can graphically depict the initial data and results. POMS ConferenceTogether with members of the rehabilitation center staff, I am working to refine the model and conclude the initial phase of the research project by the end of April 2010. The initial phase includes developing the model of the facilities processes, including client scheduling, and revising the key performance measures. Research from this phase of the project will be presented at the POMS College of Healthcare Operations Management mini-conference in Vancouver 2010 Annual Meeting.

NewPassenger Wait Times: TSA Pre-Check Analysis

USC ViterbiHelp provide the TSA with policies regarding the reduction of wait times for airport security screening

Wilson Lin
University of Southern California

Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering & Masters in Operations Research Engineering
Grant awarded: March 2017
To be completed: December 2017


Project description.

TSA PreCheckBefore the TSA PreCheck® program, every passenger passed through the same security screening procedure. TSA introduced the TSA PreCheck® program to combat congestion. Specifically, passengers that apply to the program are subjected to a background check, and, if they clear, can forego parts of the screening process (like removing their shoes and taking their laptops out of their carry-ons). Reducing the screening times of some percentage of the passenger population increases capacity – and so is good for everyone.

The question is: how should the different screening procedures be implemented to reduce wait time? Suppose there is 1 security lane devoted to TSA PreCheck® passengers and 1 to regular passengers. If the number of TSA PreCheck® passengers that go through in an hour is less than the lane's capacity, then the lanes are not fully utilized. This is particularly wasteful when the wait times for the regular passengers are long. We can maximize the lane's utilization by enabling regular customers to go through the same line as well.

We have formulated and implemented numerically a Markov Decision Problem (MDP) that will develop policies for TSA PreCheck® lane opening and closing in response to real-time system congestion levels. We use one flexible server to connect two different multi-server queues, each having different service rates, in an effort to provide some kind of partially pooled system when there are switching times.


Questions this research will answer.

We are interested in developing optimal policies for TSA PreCheck® lane opening and closing in response to real-time system congestion levels. As this policy may be difficult to implement, we also want to develop heuristics and analyze how these heuristics perform in comparison to the optimal policy.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

We have already interviewed TSA stakeholders and obtained data to motivate and align our research problem. We have already developed performance analyses of policies, and will be trying a series of policies from the optimal to extremely-easy-to-implement policies to demonstrate practical impact. Simulation proves to be the primary approach to fully demonstrate the effectiveness of the policies we've developed.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

We will use ExtendSim to simulate these policies in action as part of the performance analysis we would like to complete.


What is unique about this project?

Our project helps provide the TSA with policies regarding opening and closing a lane in response to real-time system congestion levels.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

TSA has had a desire to reduce waiting times for security screening at the airport, and we are interested in finding ways to resolve the issue.


What will be learned from your research?

We expect to learn about the underpinnings of scheduling with setup times, and reasonable heuristics that can be put into place for practice.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

There is no such work in the context of security screening regarding scheduling problems with setup times. Our research problem provides a contribution to this area, whose need for such work only arose relatively recently with the opening of TSA PreCheck® in 2012.


Publications

My project will take a Doctoral statement of work at our university one step further:

Ward, Amy & Cui, Hailong. (2016). "Passenger Wait Times for Screening at the Airport: Measuring, Modeling, and Analysis". University of Southern California. Data Sciences and Operations.


Updates

July 25, 2017 - We have been able to use ExtendSim and its Advanced Resource Manager feature to build out several simulation models that will help us test the effectiveness of the policies and heuristics that we’ve developed. We have also built out reporting functions for these simulation models so we can aggregate and analyze the simulation outputs further. We are currently conducting analyses using our models and have started our manuscript for publication.

Pulp and Paper Mills

Univerity of EdinburghThermophilic operation of anaerobic digestion processes as a green technology for mills

Mark Purkis
University of Edinburgh

Masters in Chemical Engineering
Grant awarded: August 2016
To be completed: April 2017


Project description.

Pulp and paper mills are increasingly investing in on-site anaerobic digestion processes as they have been demonstrated to be a reliable, economically viable green technology. The benefits include reducing solid waste disposal, and producing biogas. Most of these digesters operate at mesophilic temperatures; however, since the effluent from a paper machine is often at thermophilic temperatures, a large cooling duty must be performed – with the ongoing maintenance costs incurred. Thermophilic operation of the anaerobic digestion process has the potential to simplify the waste water process, as reduced cooling duty need be provided.


Questions this research will answer.

What is the energy balance if the methane reactor operates at 55 degrees C instead of at its current temperature of 38 degrees C?

What are the likely economic consequences of operating the methane reactor at 55 degrees C?

Is thermophilic operation of the methane reactor a viable processes option at this paper mill?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

I will perform Bio-Methane Potential (BMP) tests on three substrates at both mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures and measure the biogas quality and production rate. Using ExtendSim and the support of Mr. Opdal of Opdal SimTech advising on FlowMac operations, I will also develop a process model that closely matches the existing process. Using this model I will be able to create a dynamic mass and energy balance of the existing system. Next, I will adapt this model, such that the methane reactor operates at 55 degrees C. The results from the BMP tests, combined with process simulation will provide me with the necessary data to answer the questions.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

I will use ExtendSim to perform mass and energy balances over both the current mesophilic process, and a potential thermophilic process. I will use the data gathered from the BMP tests to simulate a thermophilic process at the mill. Since the BMP tests are carried out on likely process feeds, the model will be more reliable than if the model was based upon data sourced from literature.


What is unique about this project?

Thermophilic operation of anaerobic digestion is not carried out in many pulp and paper mills yet. The exact process conditions and arrangement is unique to the paper mill I am modelling.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

I enjoy working on projects that are aimed towards reducing the environmental impact of the process involved, because I feel I am making a valuable contribution both to the living environment, and to the company. There are always opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce waste. Furthermore, these opportunities are available more and more frequently since green policy making increases the funding available to carry out such tasks. The challenges involved are always unique, and it is nice to know the solutions contribute to a greener future.


What will be learned from your research?

The results from the BMP tests will give us an indication as to whether thermophilic anaerobic digestion at industrial scale, has an increased biogas production rate or quality, than the current mesophilic process. Furthermore, using the process simulation, I hope to learn whether or not operating the anaerobic digestion process at thermophilic conditions has the potential to be an economically viable process. It is expected that I will greatly improve my computer simulation skills.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I hope to show that thermophilic anaerobic digestion of pulp and paper mill sludge is an attractive process option to the pulp and paper mill industry. The knowledge gained from this project could lead to full scale thermophilic anaerobic digestion at this pulp and paper mill. Further into the future, if the implementation proves successful, it may lead to an increased interest in the process from the pulp and paper industry worldwide. The potential benefits are:

reduced maintenance costs of performing the cooling duty to mesophilic temperatures.

reduced solids wastes.

increased biogas production.

Public Policy Analysis

UNEFABuffering strategies in transportation construction projects

Omar Chique
UNEFA (Armed Forces University, Venezuela)

PhD in Public Policy & Transportation
Grant awarded: July 2009
To be completed: Grant on hold


Project description.

National oil companies (NOCs) face multiple challenges associated with a rapidly changing business marketplace, as well as challenges related to the development of local content. Plans developed for the development of local content often compete with the managerial urgency to complete projects on time to achieve the desired financial performance. Power point based plans to develop local content fail frequently, among other reasons, because of the lack of integration of such plans with the NOCs supply chain performance, and the lack of understanding of nonlinearities, delays, and capacity building issues related to the NOCs operations, priorities, and plans. A system dynamics based simulation model that links local content development strategy to the NOCs structure may help the definition of strategies to enhance the development of local services and manufacturing industries, the integration of local content in the core business, and consequently, help increase the impact of local companies on regional development, which is the ultimate objective of the related public policy.


Questions this research will answer.

Whether prioritization of capacity building projects over time, in combination with a clear understanding of the role of delays in decision making within NOCs, drives the difference between desired and real local content development, significantly.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

Having already designed the general structure model for a NOC (Exploration, Production, Storage, Transportation, Terminals, Refining, Commerce, Supply, and Finance) and having identified some of the entry points of local content providers in the supply chain, I am ready to pursue the development of a simulation model to accomplish the described task.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

Having tried other simulation programs extensively (Powersim, Vensim, I Think), and after having examined ExtendSim specifications, I find this simulation software appropriate to tackle the complexity associated with public policy formulation using simulation engines, which is the combination of the dynamic, discrete, and agents simulation paradigms, all present in ExtendSim; last, but not least, the user interface approach managed by ExtendSim increases the communication between non-technical policy makers and model designers by using animation.


What is unique about this project?

Regarding the representation of the structure of NOCs using system dynamics, I have recently completed an effort for a major NOC; while on the side of local content policy, I designed the strategic plan for a NOCs local content support in 2008. Both efforts have given me an overview of the pros and cons of different strategies associated with the subject. I acknowledge, though, the following contributions as unique in the field:

Dynamic Planning and Control Methodology: Monseo Park and Feniosky Pena

Executing major projects through contractors using: Nicholas McKeena

Different case studies on local content development strategy in Europe.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

My interest is focused on this subject because I am a professor at the Public Policy Post Graduate School of the Armed Forces University in Venezuela, where I teach different subjects in Public Policy to Master's students.


What will be learned from your research?

The identification of policy levers to help improve the integration of local content companies in the core oil and gas business related to NOCs.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

The design of a formal policy framework for the development of local services and manufacturing industries related to National Oil Companies.


Updates

October 10, 2013 - I have not finished my research. I am currently at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and in the last year I was at Palermo University (Italy) and Bergen University (Norway). Although originally it was my expectation to carry out the research with the help of some students, at the end it was not possible. Then I also started working towards my PhD Thesis in Management, with a focus on "the effect of financial markets on the price of Oil", a simulation approach, at the "Universidad Central de Venezuela".
I have, though, modeled in ExtendSim -within my research area- the dynamics of Oil terminals for a general Oil company, where it is shown how your technology can help Oil companies access the constraints and possibilities related to cargo shipments in the main terminals. This is a main issue within the Oil industry, and it is a matter of Public Policy in the case of Oil Producers nationally.

I return to Caracas in December -where the ExtendSim software waits for me- and will put together a nice report. I will send it to you in February.

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March 2, 2011 - I apologize for the delay and the inconvenience, I am packaging the model and writing the report.

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November 13, 2009 - Sending the quarterly update of research results before the end of this month as I am just wrapping up, checking the model, and writing the paper. I am sure that you will like it and recognize it as an innovative project using extendsim. Again thank you so much for your support. 

Rail Transportation

NTNUPerform reliability assessment of trackside and lineside systems while identifying failure times and their potential causes

Raja Gopal Kalvakunta
Norwegian University of Science & Technology

MSc. Reliability Availability Maintainability and Safety (RAMS)
Grant awarded: February 2017
To be completed: October 2017


Project description.

The European railway industry has continuously advancing and in recent years, they have adopted a new system called European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) for the interoperability of railways among different European nations. Currently, this has been used more extensively for transportation by commuters and for freight. The foremost quality of such transportation system is to operate in a reliable manner and maintain punctuality. In this context, Bane Nor (Norwegian National Rail Administration) is planning to convert the entire conventional signalling system to ERTMS signaling system, as a part of their ERTMS National Implementation project.

ERTMS is a complex infrastructure of various systems on trackside, lineside and train onboard and these systems have different sub systems comprising of software, hardware, network and signalling components. Due to its complexity, determining the failures and resolving them is challenging. An existing line operated on ERTMS is taken as case study from Bane NOR for developing a reliability model.


Questions this research will answer.

This research aims to develop a model to perform reliability assessment of trackside and lineside system and identify the failure times and their potential causes. In addition, it assists in achieving better system design and planning the maintenance activities. As a research approach, I will use Extendsim to develop a model and perform monte carlo simulations. I want to explore how simulations can analyze the complex systems and later I would like to compare the results with actual company results.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

Though the system is complex, some of the realistic assumptions will be made to design the model considering the vital components of ERTMS. Futhermore, DNV GL is also providing their software TRAIL, which is exclusively made for rail industry and will be used to model the entire line section of 80 km. The strategy is to compare all the simulation results i.e. from Extendsim, DNV GL, and Bane NOR for identifying the factors that influence the reliability of ERTMS.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

Extendsim will be used to develop a imaginary working model and perform monte carlo simulation. The failure data and other parameters are taken from the RAM analysis of the existing ERTMS line provided by Bane NOR.


What is unique about this project?

ERTMS is the latest advancement in rail industry and is being adopted by all other nations in the world. The literature shows that there are very few research papers that are basically dealing with ERTMS. This research is unique in a way as it facilitates to determine the factors/systems that are to be focused from the initial design phase to the final operational phase.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Being a master student in Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS), I am very interested in learning the reliability modelling methods and how simulations can help in the analysis. I have passion to work in the railways, so this research will enable me to understand the key systems involved in railway industry. Furthermore, reliability modelling can be applied in other fields like aviation, shipping, power, oil & gas and this can widen my research areas too.


What will be learned from your research?

This research methodology will help to develop my modelling skills, learn various simulation methods and to solve the real-time industry problems.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

Presently the modelling of ERTMS is done by considering the systems to be conventional, I intend to do the reliability modelling by taking into account the dynamics present in the systems operation. This research shall be distinguished because it studies the combined effect of lineside and trackside system.

NewRisk and Uncertainty Management

GWUManaging technology uncertainties for management and reduction of system failures

Tony Barber
The George Washington University

PhD in Systems Engineering
Grant awarded: August 16, 2017
To be completed: Spring 2018


Project description.

The amount of technical uncertainty within large-scale, complex systems provides critical measures in determining the appropriate decisions for reducing potential failures within system operations. Many systems engineers rely heavily on risk and opportunity management to mitigate technical uncertainty. Risk analysis enables qualitative and quantitative uncertainty and variability adjustments in solution development. But the translation of risks from qualitative deductions to measurable analysis often leads to the maturity of the enabling components.Recent research defines the concepts for understanding technical uncertainties but lacks the rigor and application needed to create a tool for technology analysis.WMATA Uncertainty is an attribute of probabilistic logic that diminishes the ability to appropriately leverage deductive reasoning for decision makers. An expansion in the study of technical uncertainties within large-scale, complex systems could optimize how engineers and technologists make informed decisions on the development and maintenance of complex systems. This research will develop and implement a quantitative technical uncertainty framework that focuses on railway transportation disruptions from the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA).


Questions this research will answer.

How can technical uncertainties be quantified within complex systems?

Do technical uncertainties have an impact on technical failures?

Will the focus on unknown or imprecisely known information increase decision making abilities of engineers and technologists?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

Create a Technical Uncertainty Framework that links to Reliabilities Studies to observe changes in failures based on a better focus on technical components.

Construct an equation that inputs a technical uncertainty quotient as an independent variable within the failure distribution.

Observe the increase or decrease in failure rates based on changes in uncertainty as it applies to different parts of the complex system.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

ExtendSim will be leveraged to model the WMATA train system including disruption data to understand the behavior of independent variables on this large scale system. The simulation will be helpful to explore various designs, architectures, and engineering focuses to help optimize development and operational efforts.


What is unique about this project?

Uncertainty analysis in complex systems has been extremely difficult to quantify due to the lack of data available across multiple system environments. Currently work has been done in Cloud computing and application verification, but not explicit to transportation studies. The intent is to build a macro framework that can be explored for both technical uncertainty and system variability to increase the reliability within systems development.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

As a Systems Engineer, the issues that surface with the failure of complex systems and system of systems has created unpredictability of decision analysis across multiple organizations and agencies. Explicitly, there was an accident that contributed to 51 injuries and 1 death for a single incident due to technical and operational failures.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to develop an expansive approach to managing technology uncertainties for management and reduction of system failures. In addition, I would like to extend the study of risk and uncertainty management within the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) guidance to further grow the systems engineering competency.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

Through my literature review, I uncovered that “future applications of technical uncertainty require numerous retrospective studies to explore performance of engineering systems, an emphasis on strategies to deal with uncertainties that lead to different solutions beyond current design and development criteria, and the treatment of uncertainties as a core element for design of engineering systems”. This was validated by working with researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to uncover the best approaches for managing technical uncertainties. I would like to formalize this study into best practices that could be leveraged in the analysis of complex systems.


Publications

I have authored a conference proceeding and presented at the INFORMS International conference on studies around Technical Uncertainty. The proceeding was entitled: "Applying Decision Analysis to a Systems Uncertainty Framework for Complex Systems Development".

I am currently in the submission process of a peer-reviewed journal article entitled: "Quantifying Technical Uncertainties: Failure Reduction through the Intersection of Decision and Systems Analysis for Transportation Systems"

Service Design

Universitat MannheimDesign an integrated optimization approach that links the design decisions on service pricing, service outcome and underlying front- and back-office service processes

Fabian Strohm
Universität Mannheim

PhD in Operations Management
Grant awarded: July 2016
To be completed: April 2018


Project description.

Service design involves making decisions with regard to what benefits to offer to the customer (incl. what price to charge) and how to create these benefits. We present an integrated optimization approach for service design that links the design decisions on service pricing, service outcome and underlying front- and back-office service processes. Considering this interdependence allows to take into account service value and the costs of service delivery simultaneously.


Questions this research will answer.

How could an optimization approach integrate design decisions on service pricing, service outcome and underlying front- and back-office service processes?

What inputs (e.g. simulation or service blueprint) can the optimization approach handle?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

We developed an optimizatopn model and want to show its applicability with regard to different inputs:

Simulation model of a pizza delivery service

PCN-diagram

Real-world example with a large business partner


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

With ExtendSim I would be able to model both the pizza delivery service as well as the services of our business partner. ExtendSim would generate an output that we would be able to use as an input for our optimization model.


What is unique about this project?

Our problem formulation is very flexible with regard to what types of customer value propositions and production/delivery processes can be considered. Further, our optimization approach provides a standardized interface to common process modeling techniques such as flowcharts, blueprints, process chain network diagrams, or simulation models. As a result, our approach can be applied to a number of different business environments and industries.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Optimizing service processes is both an important and an exciting topic. Possible implications for research are large and results can directly be applied to business world - having a strong impact on companies' performance.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to gain deep knowledge and practical experience with regard to the tools used to model our problem - ExtendSim and AMPL. The knowledge in both fields would not only support the possibilities for future research projects in this fields, but also prepare for real business problems after my PhD.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

We make a contribution to the problem of evaluating the financial performance of a service design, which has been identified as a top research priority in the service research community.


Publications

Schön C. and F. Strohm (2016): "Produktliniendesign - Modelle und Methoden zur Optimierung des Angebotsportfolios von Sachgüterherstellern und Dienstleistern", in: WiSt - Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Studium 45 (3), p. 124-129.

NewSupply Chain - Bullwhip Effect

WHUStudy the impact of the bullwhip effect for suppliers acting at different stages of the supply chain

Janick Lienau
WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management

Degree in Supply Chain Management
Grant awarded: April 2017
To be completed: May 2017


Project description.

The bullwhip effect is a widely discussed issue among supply chain experts. However, little research has been conducted on its effect on suppliers selling products to multiple tiers of the supply chain. It is ambiguous if the bullwhip effect is amplified or cushioned in such a setup given the superposition of several demand curves.


Questions this research will answer.

We try to answer the question if selling products to several tiers of the supply chain reduces or amplifies the bullwhip effect for a focal supplier. This is a non-for-profit project and if all goes well, the findings of the simulation will be published.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

To answer the question, we will simulate a supply network based on a real-life example we are currently working with. By changing parameters such as the network structure, stock policies, demand inputs, and others we try to identify the crucial parameters to the bullwhip effect.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

We need a software that allows us to model a complex supply network composed of several players on each tier - this is why we would like to get access to using ExtendSim.


What is unique about this project?

Extensive research on the bullwhip effect has already been conducted. However, it was only limited to players selling products to the next tier of the supply chain.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

I have personally always been interested in supply chain courses at my university, which is the reason why I chose to write my Bachelor thesis in the field of supply chain management. The supervisor I am closely working with is an engineer who is currently doing his PHD in logistics management. He could further fascinate me about the topic. Working on a substantial issue that has not been explored yet makes me really excited!


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to learn the following:

How to perform supply chain simulations

Advance my knowledge in SCM

Learn how to write publishable papers and make a difference to the current state of research


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I want to make a meaningful statement about the bullwhip effect for suppliers acting at different stages of the supply chain.

Supply Chain Management

Auckland University of TechnologyImprove the management of perishable and substitutable inventory

Linh Duong
Auckland University of Technology

PhD in Supply Chain Management
Grant awarded: June 2014
To be completed: March 2018


Project description.

This research aims to improve the management of perishable and substitutable inventory. Perishability can affect many types of products (e.g., fruit or meat) and can lead to significant loss of inventory value when not carefully managed. Substitutability reflects the ability of a consumer to select different products based on the availability or condition of inventory. Effective ordering and management policies to answer the questions when to order and how much to order for perishability products with the aim of reducing the losses from inventory deterioration. Perishability and substitution inventory management systems that accommodate realistic scenarios (such as stochastic or random demand from customers) are very complex, making them most amenable to analysis using discrete event simulation (DES). As it is impractical to use analytical tools to model and analyse such complex systems, DES will therefore be used to improve inventory policies accounting for perishability and substitution.


Questions this research will answer.

The suppliers are faced with the important issue to consider what to offer the customers when the customers want high service levels, lower costs, and an improved quality of product. Therefore, the application of perishable inventory models is needed to provide higher customer service level and lower waste. The research defines:

Replenishment policy that has minimize total cost and maximize customer service level.

The relationship of each factor on total cost function with the replenishment policy.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

The determination of replenishment and ordering policies to achieve requirements of perishable products is very crucial. The problem becomes very complex when there are stochastic demands. These circumstances are difficult to model and may lead to many assumptions to narrow the scope of the problem. In such complex situation, stochastic simulation is an effective modelling tool.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

This research use simulation methods to optimize perishable and substitutable inventory management system. Following a comprehensive literature review, a discrete-event simulation model will be developed to enable a comparison of performance of multiple systems. Through advanced search techniques in simulation, feasible solutions can be evaluated to obtain the best solution. This type of inventory model must account for a range of assumptions that closely mirror the situations found in real inventory systems. These include:

Shelf-life: the products are assumed to have a constant shelf-life.

Demand: to use a simulation - optimization approach, using a discrete distribution is preferred.

The profit margin: it is assumed that the profit margin for each product is the same although the price and unit cost can vary for each product.

The replenishment lead time is deterministic.

All products arrive into the system as 'new' products.

Substitution is considered to be consumer-driven. For example, the customer considers to buy an apple with first preference is A brand, the second preference is B brand. The customer will look for fresh A brand first. If there is no fresh A brand, the customer will choose among four alternatives below:

-Substitute with older A brand product if it is available.

-Substitute with fresh B brand product if it is available.

-Substitute with old B brand if no A brand is available and no fresh B brand is available.

-Decide not to buy either A or B brand product. The simulation results are then verified and validated.

Verification ensures that the model is working properly and the logic of the model is correct. Validation then ensures that the model is an accurate representation of the real system. The results of the model are compared with the actual system results from the past. Then the model results are discussed with managers to validate the model. Where discrepancies are observed underlying errors in the model can be corrected. When a model is considered to be verified and validated it can be used to help generate solutions to the managerial problems. The presentation of the results from the simulation provides insight into the performance of the system. It shows how a simulation model helps to analyse the system’s performance and establish solutions that will help to improve inventory system performance. The model can be run numerous times with a range of parameters. Each time a number of performance measures are calculated. These are collected over the numerous iterations of the model and are presented in graph and tabular forms. This allows identification of the most appropriate parameters to use when managing the real inventory system; the best parameters will usually minimize or maximize certain performance measures.


What is unique about this project?

This research focused on solving problems relating to the management of perishable and substitutable inventory due to the great benefits globally that can be secured by reducing wastes accruing from deterioration. Effective ordering and management policies for perishability products can reduce the losses. Perishability and substitution inventory management systems with stochastic demands are very complex, making them most amenable to analysis using simulation as the use of analytical tools to model and analyze such complex systems remains impractical. Research shows that discrete event simulation models are preferred for evaluating such complex inventory systems. This research showed that simulation can be used as a tool to determine optimal inventory policies accounting for perishability and substitution. The use of simulation is supported with optimization tools and simulation software.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Once produced, perishable products have finite shelf life. When expired, they are either partially or completely value-less. In real management settings, managers must decide what to set as the inventory level for perishable products to ensure customers have all desired products at the right time at minimal disposal cost. Managers want to provide the highest customer service level with the lowest cost. Some of these costs that play an important role in perishable inventory management include ordering cost, holding cost, disposal cost and shortage/backlog cost. To expand market share, many producers tend to provide more product lines, and many retailers opt to provide great choices for consumers by introducing new brands, more flavours or sizes of existing products, or new products with varied attributes. Consequently, this greater choice for consumers creates additional managerial challenges in terms of setting inventory management policies to maximize total profit. The managers must take into account the effects of substitution on inventory management system. Perishability relates to the deterioration of a product over time and is often associated with fresh food; a cut of meat will quickly ‘go bad’ if it is exposed to warmth and sunlight, creating food safety issues for consumers. Globalization has created a big change in consumers’ behaviour as it has led to many people to seek superior quality foods, leading to an increase in the global trade in food products as some are produced in specialized locations. Developing countries are now frequently focusing on exporting products that they have distinct advantages in producing or where there is some measure of prestige associated with the product from their specific region. This behaviour creates more jobs and more income for developing countries.


What will be learned from your research?

After this research, the understanding about inventory management, the simulation skills, the knowledge on supply chain management from manufacturer to consumers are expected to improve. Then, the further application and training documents are developed.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

This research is expected to contribute on the knowledge of using modern application such as ExtendSim, the specific characteristics of products such as perishability to my job as a Supply Chain Manager in a diary company. It would help to decrease the cost and increase the value to consumer.


Publications

Duong, L. N. K., Wood, L. C., & Wang, X. (2016). Review of RFID Applications in Perishable Inventory Management. In B. Christiansen (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Global Supply Chain Management (pp. 139-146). Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-9639-6.ch008.

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Duong, L. N. K., Wood, L. C., & Wang, W. Y. C. (2015). A Multi-criteria Inventory Management System for Perishable & Substitutable Products. Procedia Manufacturing, 2(February), 66–76. doi:10.1016/j.promfg.2015.07.012.

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Duong, L. N. K., Wood, L. C., & Wang, W. (2015). A review and reflection on inventory management of perishable products in a single-echelon model. International Journal of Operational Research, June 2015.

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Duong, N. K. L. & Wood, L. C. (2015). Simulation to improve management of perishable and substitutable inventory. In Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Edition: 3rd, Chapter: 84, Publisher: Information Science Reference, Editors: M. Khosrow-Pour, pp.915-922.


Updates

February 10, 2017 - I am developing an inventory model for a four-echelon model. The four-echelon model includes manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and consumer. This model reflects the reality of the business.

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June 28, 2015 - I have used ExtendSim for one-echelon and two-echelon model. The results from the ExtendSim simulation are extracted and ranked by using multi-criteria methods (i.e., AHP and DEA). In the next months, I will do the sensitivity analysis to examine the interactions betweens input and output factors.

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June 28, 2015 - In December 2014, I presented my research proposal. The proposal was approved in January 2015 by PhD committee. I built a simple simulation model by ExtendSim for a model of single-product, single-echelon. The results from the simulation model are analysing by using multi-criteria decision methods (viz., AHP). After that, I plan to build an inventory model for multi-product, multi-echelon.

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September 28, 2014 - I am writing the research proposal, which will be presented in December 2014.

Transportation

UANLTransit corridor vehicle control

Miguel Morales-Marroquin
Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Léon

PhD in Operations Research
Grant awarded: September 2013
To be completed: Project on hold


Project description.

Bus bunching affects transit operations by increasing passenger waiting times and its variability. This project proposes a new mathematical programming model to control vehicles operating on a transit corridor minimizing total delays. This research is based on the Felipe Delgado, Juan Carlos Munoz, Ricardo Giesen paper, How much can holding and/or limiting boarding improve transit performance?


Questions this research will answer.

How to improve the variability of the public network?


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

To determine which action should be taken according to the proposed model, every time a bus reaches a stop, a file is created containing all the state variables of the system at that time point. This file is the input of the mathematical programming model, which is solved using a commercial optimizer. The solution will optimize all decision variables, related to future control actions consisting of holding and boarding limits for all buses, on all future stops until they return to their actual stop in the next cycle. However a single control action affecting only the bus that triggered the event is sent and applied in the Simulator. All other control actions suggested by the optimization model are discarded. This approach is applied in a rolling horizon framework.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

To make the simulation of the transit network.


What is unique about this project?

The mathematical model that will feed the simulation process. This model determines the holding times of the bus.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

Urban transportation is very important in any city and it needs to be working the best possible.


What will be learned from your research?

How to control the buses in order to have a network that offers good quality waiting times for the users.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

New mathematical models for improving the real time optimization of the bus networks in real time.


Publications

M.L. Morales-Marroquin, E. Possani, M. Cabo, and Y.A. Rios-Solis. Product-mold- machine manufacturing problem. Under revision.

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O.J. Ibarra-Rojas, F. López-Irarragorri, Y.A. Rios-Solis. Multiperiod Synchronization of Bus Timetabling. Transportation Science, April 7, 2015, pp.805-822.

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M. L. Morales Marroquín. Optimización de la producción en máquinas en paralelo de inyección de plástico. Tesis de maestría, PISIS, UANL, Mayo 2012.

NewWood Drying Process in Sawmills

SLUExpediting the wood drying process in sawmills to increase production while maintaining the quality of the wood

Jacob Forsberg
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Masters in Forest Sciences
Grant awarded: July 2017
To be completed: January 2018


Project description.

The market for wood products from sawmills is under hard competition both in Sweden and in the global market. To reach profitability, sawmills need to have an effective and solid process for production while maintaining high quality products. An important part of this is how well the drying process is being managed. The company in this study suffers from a lack of capacity in their drying process which forces them to dry the wood faster than recommended.

A fast drying process will most likely lead to damaged wood and a lower quality. To improve the drying process we want to investigate how different scenarios affect the process. For example:

What happens if we add a higher amount of capacity to the system?

What happens if the production of wood in the sawmill increases or decreases during different parts of the year?


Questions this research will answer.

How the drying process works at a Swedish sawmill.

How this process is affected when you change some factors, e.g. the drying capacity.


How research strategy and use of ExtendSim will help to answer these questions.

The study will be done in six steps.

A mapping of the drying process showing how it’s controlled and planned.

In cooperation with my supervisor and the head of the sawmill, we will formulate 2 or 3 scenarios to be investigated.

Build a simulation model to represent the process.

Validate the simulation model.

Run the simulation.

Analyze simulation results.


How ExtendSim is being used in this project.

ExtendSim will be used to build and run these discrete event models and to retrieve results to perform analyses afterwards.


What is unique about this project?

There has been very little research done on the wood drying process in sawmills. The research that has been done both in Sweden and in other countries mainly focuses on the technical aspects of the process and how various techniques affect the wood quality. We haven’t found any research that uses simulation for the drying process. Using simulation has been done with good results in the sawmill area before by Dogan, McClain and Wicklund in 1997 in their study "Simulation modeling and analysis of a hardwood sawmill". But that study just focused on the sawing process, not the drying. And the fact that no research has been done with simulation in this area makes this project unique.


Why the interest in the indicated subject?

I'm interested in the forest industry, especially in sawmills, and I think it’s very interesting to work with areas that we don't know very much about. I also think this subject is interesting because it can possibly have an impact on how drying might be done in the future.


What will be learned from your research?

I expect to learn more about how the drying process is done at Swedish sawmills. I also expect to learn more about how to use simulation as a tool for research and how you make a good and solid simulation model for a new area.


What specific contribution would you like to give to the existing current state of knowledge in your subject area?

I want to add some knowledge about how the drying process is done at a typical Swedish sawmill. But primarily, I would like to add knowledge about the possibilities of using simulation in this area -- hoping to inspire others to continue my simulation research in various parts of the forest industry.


Publications

In previous years, many students in the Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology here at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have used ExtendSim in their theses with good results. Here a just a few of them:

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Sofia Wahlström Bergstedt and Elin Kollberg. "Simulation of queueing times for an alternative unloading solution at the integrated mill in Iggesund". Bachelor thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. 2014. 

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Oskar Gustavsson. "Simulation of combined transports and mapping of the effects on service dimensions". Master Thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. 2015.

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Anders Eriksson. "Improving the efficiency of forest fuel supply chains". Doctoral thesis no. 2016:101, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. 2016.

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Petter Berggren and Philip Öhrman. "Forest felling comparison between conventional two-machine systems and one-machine systems". Bachelor thesis (report under production), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. 2017.


Updates

October 3,2017 - To date, I have finished the study design and got it approved by my supervisor and the examiner for the thesis. I continued with the mapping and data collection at the sawmill. Forsberg - Conceptual ModelAfter this phase was finished, I created a conceptual model (as shown to the right) that represents the wood drying system at the sawmill. The conceptual model and the ExtendSim model will be handled as a queueing system.

Last week, I constructed a model in ExtendSIm based on the conceptual model. I am now expanding the model by adding more detalis to make it more accurate, as the first model I built was quite simple. For example, the first model did not included downtimes for the kilns and we had used a constant process time. These parameters will become more complex to ensure model accuracy in the second version of the model.