Risk Simulation and Queuing

Risk Simulation and Queuing

taught by Cliff Ragsdale

cap , informs

Aim of Course: This online course, "Risk Simulation and Queuing" covers three important modeling techniques.  Students will learn how to construct and implement simulation models to model (1) the uncertainty in decision input variables (e.g. price, demand, etc.), so that the overall estimate of interest from a model can be supplemented by a risk interval of possible other outcomes (risk simulation), and (2) the variability in arrivals over time (customers, cars at a toll plaza, data packets, etc.) and ensuing queues (queuing theory). Students will also learn how to employ decision trees to incorporate information derived from models to actually make optimal decisions.  Students will use spreadsheet-based software to specify and implement models.

This course may be taken individually (one-off) or as part of a certificate program.

Course Program:

WEEK 1: Risk Analysis

  • Simulation
  • Interpreting output
  • Implementing & optimizing the model

WEEK 2: Advanced Simulation

  • Poisson distribution, arrival rate
  • Service rate
  • Operating characteristics

WEEK 3: Queuing

  • Mastering complexity
  • Payoff matrix
  • Decision rules
  • Expected monetary value
  • Expected regret
  • Expected value of information
  • Decision trees

WEEK 4: Multistage Decision Problems

  • Risk profile
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Tornado charts
  • Using sample information
  • Conditional probabilities
  • Utility functions


Homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concepts and guided data analysis problems using software.

Risk Simulation and Queuing

Who Should Take This Course:

Risk managers, financial analysts, project managers, operations managers, and others with responsibility for specifying, creating, deploying or interpreting risk analysis and queuing models.  Users of risk analysis or queuing software who need to attain a more solid grounding in the subject.



Prerequisite(s) are listed for your benefit so you can determine for yourself whether you have the needed background, either from taking courses, or by other experience.
  • Facility with spreadsheet operations 

Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement:
About 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:
  1. You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course,  CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.

Risk Simulation and Queuing has been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) and is recommended for the  graduate degree category, 3 semester hours in statistics or decision sciences.  Note: The decision to accept specific credit recommendations is up to each institution.  More info here.

This course is also recognized by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) as helpful preparation for the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) exam, and can help CAP® analysts accrue Professional Development Units to maintain their certification .


Course Text:

Spreadsheet Modeling & Decision Analysis, Seventh edition by Cliff Ragsdale. This text is also used in Optimization: Linear Programming and Integer & Nonlinear Programming and Network Flow.

Note:  It is important to get the seventh edition of the text; earlier editions do not contain correct assignments.

This book is also available on a per-chapter basis; the chapters used in this course are 12, 13, and 14.


The course uses Analytic Solver Platform for Education software by Frontline systems.  Analytic Solver Platform for Education is an add-in for Excel that performs risk analysis, simulation, optimization, decision trees and other analytical methods.  With the purchase or rental of the book, you will have a course code that will enable you to download and install the software for 140 days. If you do not have such a license, a license is also available for course registrants through Statistics.com.   Please do not install the regular public trial copy of the software on your own; when the course starts we will provide you with the complete installation instructions to obtain the appropriate copy of the software.



May 06, 2016 to June 03, 2016 November 18, 2016 to December 16, 2016 May 05, 2017 to June 02, 2017 November 17, 2017 to December 15, 2017 May 04, 2018 to June 01, 2018 November 16, 2018 to December 14, 2018

Risk Simulation and Queuing


May 06, 2016 to June 03, 2016 November 18, 2016 to December 16, 2016 May 05, 2017 to June 02, 2017 November 17, 2017 to December 15, 2017 May 04, 2018 to June 01, 2018 November 16, 2018 to December 14, 2018

Course Fee: $589

Do you meet course prerequisites? What about book & software? (Click here to learn more)

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