Experimental Design for Sensitivity Analysis, Optimization and Validation of Simulation Models

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This chapter gives a survey on the use of statistical designs for what-if analysis in simula- tion, including sensitivity analysis, optimization, and validation/verification. Sensitivity analysis is divided into two phases. The first phase is a pilot stage, which consists of screening or searching for the important factors among (say) hundreds of potentially important factors. A novel screening technique is presented, namely sequential bifurcation. The second phase uses regression analysis to approximate the input/output transformation that is implied by the simulation model; the resulting regression model is also known as a metamodel or a response surface. Regression analysis gives better results when the simu- lation experiment is well designed, using either classical statistical designs (such as frac- tional factorials) or optimal designs (such as pioneered by Fedorov, Kiefer, and Wolfo- witz). To optimize the simulated system, the analysts may apply Response Surface Metho- dology (RSM); RSM combines regression analysis, statistical designs, and steepest-ascent hill-climbing. To validate a simulation model, again regression analysis and statistical designs may be applied. Several numerical examples and case-studies illustrate how statisti- cal techniques can reduce the ad hoc character of simulation; that is, these statistical techniques can make simulation studies give more general results, in less time. Appendix 1 summarizes confidence intervals for expected values, proportions, and quantiles, in termi- nating and steady-state simulations. Appendix 2 gives details on four variance reduction techniques, namely common pseudorandom numbers, antithetic numbers, control variates or regression sampling, and importance sampling. Appendix 3 describes jackknifing, which may give robust confidence intervals.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherOperations research
Number of pages61
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • least squares
  • distribution-free
  • non-parametric
  • stopping rule
  • run-length
  • Von Neumann
  • median
  • seed
  • likelihood ratio


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