TechDogs-A Beginner’s Guide To "Simulation Software"

Software Applications

A Beginner’s Guide To Simulation Software

By TechDogs

TechDogs
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Overview

How many of us enjoy playing Call of Duty, Counterstrike and League of Legends? Most of us would nod in agreement to this question. However, did you know that the US military regularly uses Call of Duty: Modern Warfare as a recruitment tool? Prior to signing up for active duty, today's crop of armed forces recruits has hundreds of hours of Call of Duty under their belt. Engaging in simulated combat improves motor skills and familiarity with military jargon.

From military to law enforcement to medical services and manufacturing, Simulation Software is used to imitate a real-world process product using a set of formulas and models. In this article, we explore Simulation Software, its functionality, importance, benefits and potential future.
TechDogs-To Simulate Or Not To Simulate, Thats The Question- "William Shakespeare"
The one thing we all love as humans is a good investment and nothing that scorns us more than an investment that has gone bad. What if there was a way to see if the investment is worth the effort and, of course, the Dolla Dolla bills that come with it?

Talking about investments, Walmart, the multinational retail giant, wanted to automate their fast-growing online grocery business to help complete orders faster and at lower costs. Hence, Walmart partnered with Alert Innovation to deploy Alphabot - a self-driving vehicle that would collect items from a high-density storage system and deliver them quickly to store associates to assemble a customer's order. While this idea seemed exciting, Walmart needed to know if the blood, sweat, tears and green notes were worth it before committing to this technology.

What did Alert Innovation do to reassure Walmart about their innovation? They partnered with MOSIMTEC, a simulation consulting firm and AnyLogic material handling Simulation Software for the pilot (read test drive). Absolutely ingenious in our opinion because Alphabot successfully demonstrated that it could pick up 95% of online grocery orders in less than eight minutes, while the average pick-up time being under five minutes. Subsequently, this model was tweaked to understand the impact of various design alternatives and scenarios. In conclusion, before investing in new technology that seemed too good to be true, Walmart tested it thoroughly and only launched the first Alphabot at Salem, New Hampshire, in 2019.

Our point? Simulation Software brings to fore the working of a system in a real-life scenario, its feasibility and points out the improvements and enhancements that can be made to the design or technology. Interesting, eh? Let's peek more into Simulation Software and how it can transform the way you measure investments for your business.


What Is Simulation Software?  


Simulation Software is a tool that processes modeling a real phenomenon with a set of mathematical formulae and algorithms. Before you roll your eyes and think it's too technical, hold on! We will lay it out for you in simple terms, the way TechDogs always does.

Organizations around the world strive to innovate and pioneer the next earth-shattering discovery. However, such a process needs tremendous amounts of time, effort and money. Going back to the Walmart example, imagine if Alphabot was implemented without simulation tool. Firstly, it would take Walmart a fortune to re-structure or re-design the stores, the robots carts, inventory and tracking with control systems. After doing this, if the technology fails because Walmart did not test how it would work during super peak hours, imagine the angry looks the executives will receive from their investors and stakeholders? *Shudders* Yes, improvements can be made later but as they say; prevention is better than cure. Simulation Software allows an organization to test the feasibility of how their technology or system will behave in real-life scenarios, what can be improved and how the entire process can be optimized.

In October 2020, documentary filmmaker Neil Halloran collaborated with Nobel Peace Prize - Research and Information (NPPRI) to create a video that accurately simulates a nuclear blast in a major city. This film highlights the danger nuclear weapons pose to humanity. Knowing about Simulation Software steers us to the next logical thought, how did it develop? We'll answer that in a bit.
 

Simulation Software: The History


Experiments in the simulation field began as early as World War II. In 1940, a method called the 'Monte Carlo method' was developed by researchers John von Neumann, Stanislaw Ulan, Edward Teller, Herman Kahn and other physicists working on a neutron scattering study. In the 1960s, the first special-purpose simulation languages such as SIMSCRIPT were developed by Harry Markowitz at the RAND Corporation.


TechDogs-History Of "Stimulation Software"-"Monte Carlo Method" Applied To Approximating The Value Of π
The 1970s saw extensive research on the mathematical foundations of simulation. However, during the 1980s, PC-based Simulation Software, graphical user interface and object-oriented programming were developed. By the late 1990s, web-based simulation, fancy animated graphics, simulation-based optimization, etc., had been developed.

With advanced computer technology and Artificial Intelligence capabilities, Simulation Software is now actively used by the military, retail, manufacturing and many other industries. Next time you play Battlefield or Call of Duty and are in awe of the excellent graphics or the realistic battlegrounds, you know which gentlemen to thank.

For most of you, the natural next question will be how does a Simulation Software work. It simulates stuff! Just Kidding, let's get into how the Simulation Software works. 


Simulation Software: The Working


As the name suggests, a simulation is an animated model that closely imitates the operation of an existing or a proposed system. Examples can include the day-to-day running of a bank or a call center or even an entire manufacturing process for units. Simulation Software builds a visual mock-up of the processes, akin to creating a flowchart. Then, by adding permutations, combinations and limitations around the resources and processes, the simulation can accurately recreate the actual operation.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) serves over 4.5 million customers each year across 74 customer service centers. The average number of visits to a center is an astonishing 11,000 - 155,000 customers annually. A 2015 customer survey concluded that one-third of customers felt the wait time was too long. Thus, Virginia DMV wanted to design a more efficient staffing model that would reduce the average wait time to 20 minutes or less. It was time for Simulation Software to shine! Virginia DMV engaged a Simulation Software called "Simul8" to identify the ideal number of employees required to accomplish the goal. It utilized the existing queuing data, average service time by service type and average hourly customer arrivals to simulate the center's daily operations.

This helped Virginia DMV identify the staffing levels and other metrics required to achieve the benchmark. When the simulated plan was put into action, Virginia DMV reduced the wait time within expected levels. We know what you are thinking now, reduced wait time? That's impressive!

What else can Simulation Software do? That's what we have answered next. (We've got psychic powers!)
 

Simulation Software: The Need and Benefits


Simulation Software is an exhaustive concept and quite technical too. However, to break it down for our readers, we’ve highlighted the important elements to further our case for Simulation Software:
 
  • Increased Accuracy

    Simulation software captures details about an operation or process that provides pinpoint accuracy and precise forecasting.

  • Risk-free Environment

    Test multiple "what-if" scenarios without risk. Make real-world changes based on real data rather than leaving anything to chance. 

  • Easily Test Complex Systems In Isolation From Real-world

    Simulation Software can easily simulate large-scale environments such as airports, hospitals, etc. Since you don't can't interact with the real-world system without making a ruckus to the ongoing tasks, this is a significant benefit. Test your changes before real-world implementation and get insights about potential risks to prepare beforehand.

  • Increased Accuracy

    Simulation Software captures details about an operation or process that provides pinpoint accuracy and precise forecasting.

  • Risk-free Environment

    Test multiple "what-if" scenarios without risk. Make real-world changes based on real data rather than leaving anything to chance.

  • Easily Test Complex Systems In Isolation From Real-world

    Simulation Software can easily simulate large-scale environments such as airports, hospitals, etc. Since you don't can't interact with the real-world system without making a ruckus to the ongoing tasks, this is a significant benefit. Test your changes before real-world implementation and get insights about potential risks to prepare beforehand.

  • Visualization

    If you can't see it, you can't feel it. A 3d Simulation Software can create a simulation model seamlessly in 2D/3D, allowing concepts and ideas to be understood more clearly.

  • Save Time And Money

    A new process, concept or idea needs time and money to be implemented. For most industries, this can be a massive undertaking. Simulation-based models are less expensive to create and quicker to experiment on than real assets.

  • Improved Solutions

    Unprecedented and uncertain scenarios can be easily represented with the Simulation Software. This allows us to measure risk and find reliable solutions.

  • Actionable Insights

    Insights are the new gold! Simulation Software allows observation of the system or process at a granular as well as aggregate level, e.g., you can check warehouse storage space at any given point and make decisions based on that data.

  • Detect Future Problems

    Simulation Software helps designers and engineers engineering evaluate alternatives and refine designs early in the simulation processes when it is relatively less expensive to make changes. This results in a shorter development cycle and a quicker time to market.


Simulation Software: What Does A Good One Look Like?


We've been saying this often and at the risk of repeating ourselves, we will repeat it again; the features depend on the use, budget and the problem you are seeking to solve. However, in trademark #TechDogs' way, we have listed down the basic features:
 

TechDogs-Features Of "Simulation Software"-Six Features Of Simulation Software Explained

 
  • Mathematical Modeling

    Design and execute simulation workflows using mathematical formulas.

  • Reporting And Analytics

    Analyze data and report critical information from the simulation process for documentation and presentation. 

  • Direct Manipulation

    Enable human-machine interactions to represent objects of interest via physical, reversible and incremental actions.  

  • 3D Modeling

    Develop mathematical representations of objects in three-dimensional space. 

  • Dynamic Modeling

    Use a simulation program to design models that display time-varying behavior. 

  • Graphical Modeling

    Use Simulation Software to design models that express the conditional dependencies between two or more random variables. 


While you finalize the Simulation Software you intend to invest in, let's quickly analyze the future (P.S. There is no Simulation Software modeled to predict its own destiny, yet. Pun intended!) 


Simulation Software: The Future


Simulation Software has come a long way following the development of its concept. Going into the future, it is expected to grow from strength to strength. The major players here are AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning). Software simulators will be taking a deep dive into AI and ML capabilities to churn out robust features that can solve the most complex problems.

stakeholder is Multiphysics (don't get unnerved by the word!). It simply means that the Simulation Software would be able to solve multiple design issues simultaneously instead of one by one. All said and done, we would be looking at a Simulation Software capable of solving more problems efficiently and quickly.


Conclusion


The very nature of technology today is that anyone can create tools overnight that replace those that have been established for years. A start-up in Silicon Valley could develop an entirely new way to complete a task or solve a problem and disrupt existing services in its wake. Many forgotten businesses of yesteryear failed to prepare for this risk. The best way to stay ahead of your competition is by continually innovating and improving existing systems and what better way to do that than use a Simulation Software?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Simulation Software and how does it benefit businesses?


Simulation Software is a tool that models real-world phenomena using mathematical formulas and algorithms. It allows organizations to simulate the behavior of systems or processes in various scenarios, providing insights into feasibility, improvements, and optimizations. For businesses, Simulation Software offers increased accuracy in forecasting, creates a risk-free environment for testing multiple scenarios, and enables the testing of complex systems without disrupting real-world operations. Additionally, it provides visualization capabilities, saves time and money compared to real-world experimentation, and helps detect and solve future problems proactively.

What is the history of Simulation Software?


The roots of Simulation Software trace back to World War II when the 'Monte Carlo method' was developed by researchers. Throughout the 20th century, significant advancements were made in simulation languages and software development. By the late 1990s, simulation software had evolved to include web-based platforms, graphical user interfaces, and simulation-based optimization. Today, with advancements in computer technology and AI capabilities, Simulation Software is widely used across industries for various applications, from military simulations to business optimization.

What are the key features to look for in Simulation Software?


When selecting Simulation Software, it's essential to consider features that align with your specific needs and budget. Some key features to look for include mathematical modeling capabilities for designing simulation workflows, robust reporting and analytics functionalities for data analysis and documentation, direct manipulation for human-machine interactions, 3D modeling for visual representation, dynamic modeling to capture time-varying behavior, and graphical modeling to express conditional dependencies between variables. The choice of features depends on the use case and the problem you aim to solve with the software.

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