On the approximation of empirical data for service system simulations

Alexander Finlayson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The difficulties associated with parameter estimation for phase-type approximations of empirical data distributions in queue modelling are well known. While significant progress has been achieved in improving such approximations, difficulties in parameter estimation still limit the extent to which queue modelling is applied in practice. This paper presents a simplified technique for approximating empirical data in service system simulations, based on the specialised Cox phase-type distribution. When utilised in
simulation modelling of a service system, the specialised Cox distribution is shown to provide improved approximations to the combined waiting and service time distribution without the need for complex parameter estimation techniques. This approach should enable much greater flexibility in the application of queue modelling to service systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1029
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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