What Will Discrete-Event Simulation Be Like in 50 Years

Date: 9/6/2016
Author: Descreye Solutions

At the rate of current progress in technology it is almost impossible to predict the state of a technology 50 years from the present. If we simply look into the past 20 years we can see the past developments in simulation. 20 years ago most simulations were done using a programming language or very rudimentary GUIs. Now simulation packages do full 3d representations of real-life systems and can include all the ancillary processes of the system to increase accuracy and insight.

In the future that trend should continue. As data becomes more reliably available and finite, it should become easier to create simulation models that replicate real-life scenarios. 50 years from now it is likely that separate simulation software packages will not exist as the IT that controls the system will have built in simulation capabilities to experiment and optimize values to run efficiently. This will allow production systems to premeditatively adjust to the needs of the system in order to perform optimaly.

However, even with built-in simulation capabilities in existing systems, there will also be a need for simulation in estimating the output of new systems. The amount of data available and the ability to analyze that data to get worthwhile information will be critical in making the simulations of the future extremely accurate in predicting how new facilities operations will work. Model accuracy will be a critical driver of simulation capability in the future.

The last key change that will occur in discrete-event simulation will be the age of simplicity. In the past 20 years simulation has progressed from a tool for PhDs to a tool for industrial scientists. In the future it will be critical to increase the simplicity of simulation while maintaining the accuracy needed to gain insight. As innovators optimize this balance it will be likely that more and more institutions and companies will find simulation to be a ubiquitous tool in their process improvement efforts.

While any prediction of future technology is inevitably flawed and naive, it seems likely that discrete-event simulation will increasingly play an important role in process improvement.

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