Simulation is a very flexible modelling approach, which makes it one of the most widely used Operational Research techniques.

The approach taken is to model the behaviour of individual elements within the system, often using random sampling to generate realistic variability. The overall behaviour of the system emerges from the interactions between the elements.

The simulation process consists of problem definition, conceptual modelling, data collection, model coding, model verification and validation, experimentation and analysis of results, and solution implementation. Application areas for simulation in industry include logistics and supply chain, service and operations management, business process improvement, health and social care and information system, environment and many more.

The simulation group consists of Dr Roger Brooks, Dr Stephan Onggo and Dr Richard Williams. Professor Mike Pidd is retiring but he is still involved with the group. The group is benefitting from the appointment of Professor Barry Nelson as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the department. There are currently a number of PhD students. Current simulation research includes:

  • Agent-based simulation (calibration of parameters and applications in supply chain, social risk and finance)
  • Conceptual modelling in discrete simulation and agent-based simulation, including conceptual model representation using BPMN and UML
  • Parallel and distributed simulation and Cloud-based simulation
  • Using simulation to support performance measurement in public services

Computer facilities are good, with access to the University’s High Performance Cluster and to National Supercomputers, as well as PCs. Links to the University’s Department of Computing are encouraged as are those to its Department of Mathematics and Statistics, both of which also have very strong international research records.

If you have any queries you wish to discuss, please contact Dr Roger Brooks or Dr Stephan Onggo

If you would like to apply for a PhD, please see our PhD admissions page.

Potential topics

There are potential research opportunities in the technology, process or applications of simulation. As a guide, current or recent research within the department includes: 

  • Agent-based simulation (conceptual modelling, calibration of parameters, validation methods, social network analysis, applications in supply chain, social risk analysis, healthcare, project management and finance)
  • Boolean networks
  • Business process modelling and simulation (BPMN, UML, ARIS, etc)
  • Cloud-based simulation 
  • Component-based computer simulation
  • Data-driven and symbiotic simulation (simulation model parameters are updated based on real-time or near real-time data)
  • Discrete-event simulation process (conceptual modelling, model simplification, data collection method, simulation project management)
  • Hybrid simulation (combining discrete-event simulation, system dynamics and agent-based simulation) 
  • Parallel and distributed simulation 
  • System dynamics applications in strategic management
  • Applications of practices and theories from fields such as computational biology, artificial intelligence, software engineering and social sciences to simulation modelling
  • Applications in health and social care, project management, software systems (such as ERP), social sciences, and services and operations management