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21 May 2018

Credibility and the Internet: Queuing Theory

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet!

This was old news about queues back in 1985. Yet it was written up as a journal article, and received coverage as though a new finding in the June 2010 issue of ScienceDaily, an online publication owned by Reuters.

M/M/1 queues, Kendall notation, and balking rate models are certainly useful. However, the concepts, and their accuracy as models, were well-established for at least forty years. This is true whether applying queueing theory to modelling the performance of computer hard-drives e.g. random arrival times for seek requests, or to consumer behavior when switching lanes because of long lines at the supermarket checkout.

The Wiley text book, Fundamentals of Queueing Theory, was published in 1998.

Earlier editions were published in 1983, and explain in detail the theory and application of the concepts presented in the journal article reviewed by ScienceDaily.

A little more about M/G/1

On Math StackExchange, I noticed a rare inquiry. If you're curious for more about queues, go read my answer to this question, Kendall notation's “General distribution”, what does that mean?

I found this comment endearing:

Oh I thought that this stuff wasn't even used in real life jobs... I thought it was merely theoretical, but seems that I'm wrong!
I'm okay with the G general theory [G as the general case when you just don't know what sort of service time distribution to expect] since I'm not required to study it for now (I'm following an academic course), I just wanted to understand what the G meant and you helped me in that. Do you have any experience with multi-class queues too?

Journal Reference
  1. Liao et al. "Optimal staffing policy for queueing systems with cyclic demands." International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2010; 7: 317-332.

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