TU Delft
Education Type
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2007/2008 Technology, Policy and Management Master Engineering and Policy Analysis
Discrete Systems Modeling
Module Manager
Name E-mail
Prof.dr.ir. A. Verbraeck    A.Verbraeck@tudelft.nl
Name E-mail
Dr.ir. P.W. Heijnen    P.W.Heijnen@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
Required for
Advanced electives in discrete event simulation:
- spm9322 Simulation Masterclass
- spm9427 Simulation of Logistic Systems
Expected prior knowledge
The course builds on basic knowledge of:
- calculus
- statistics (distributions and hypothesis testing)
This course presents a theoretical / mathematical background and a practical approach for discrete modelling. This includes a training in conceptual modelling and in specification of discrete event simulation models, as well as a training for the discrete simulation language Arena. Theory and practice are covered in the first half of the semester. The second half is spent on applying the theory and skills on a large case study.
Course Contents
1. Discrete dynamic systems modelling theory
This part consists of a lecture series on mathematical modeling of discrete problems, theory on discrete event simulation, and four half-days of Arena instruction.

2. Discrete project
The theory about discrete event simulation is applied to a large case study. On the basis of a case description, students work in pairs to make a model, use it in an analysis of the problem situation and report on the results.
Study Goals
Upon completion of the course the student:

- knows the role of dynamic systems modelling within the process of problem solving and policy making;
- can apply mathematical techniques such as distribution functions, hypothesis testing, and queuing theory to model small dynamic problems;
- can apply the modelling cycle to the development of discrete models;
- has basic knowledge of all the steps in discrete event systems modelling;
- knows different techniques used in discrete simulation and knows when to apply these (conceptualization, specification, validation/verification, reduction, data gathering, etc.);
- can represent discrete models in Arena in an efficient and effective manner;
- can use the models to carry out an analysis by setting up an experiment with the model.
Education Method
Lectures, lab exercises, and project.
Computer Use
Arena. A CD with Arena with a one-year license will be made available for home use.
Literature and Study Materials
Lecture notes epa1331 Discrete Systems Modelling (possibly in two parts).
Project case descriptions (will be handed out in class and through Blackboard).
Access to Arena training Website for one year.
No formal prerequisites, but the course builds on basic knowledge of statistics (distributions and hypothesis testing) as covered in epa1311.
Half-way through the semester, there is a mid-term examination. Students have to obtain at least a 5.5 for the examination in order to be allowed to take part in the discrete project in the second half of the semester. The final grade is the average of the mid-term exam and the mark for the project. The project has to be graded with at least a 5.5 in order to pass the course.
Permitted Materials during Tests
During the Arena part of the exam, all lecture materials and manuals are allowed.