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A Fluid Flow Model of Networks of Queues


  • James S. Vandergraft

    (Automated Sciences Group, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland)


This paper describes a new technique for modeling flow through a network of queues. The advantages of this method over many discrete event simulations or queueing theory techniques include simplicity, low cost and portability. The paper describes the kinds of processes to which the technique can be applied, and the characteristics of the process that can be determined by the resulting model. An example of claims processing in a Social Security Administration's District Office is given. The basis for the technique is to model the information flow by a fluid flow, and then use standard engineering ideas to describe the fluid flow by a system of ordinary differential equations. The system of equations is solved by well-known numerical methods.

Suggested Citation

  • James S. Vandergraft, 1983. "A Fluid Flow Model of Networks of Queues," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(10), pages 1198-1208, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:10:p:1198-1208

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    Cited by:

    1. S. Göttlich & S. Kühn & J. A. Schwarz & R. Stolletz, 2016. "Approximations of time-dependent unreliable flow lines with finite buffers," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 83(3), pages 295-323, June.
    2. Gordon H. Lewis & Ashok Srinivasan & Eswaran Subrahmanian, 1998. "Staffing and Allocation of Workers in an Administrative Office," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(4), pages 548-570, April.

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    networks; queueing theory; simulation;


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