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Risk Simulation and Queuing

Risk Simulation and Queuing

This course will teach you modeling technique making decisions in the presence of risk or uncertainty, including risk analysis using Monte Carlo simulation, queuing theory for problems involving waiting lines, and decision trees for analyzing problems with multiple discrete decision alternatives.


This online course covers three important modeling techniques. Students will learn how to (1) construct and implement simulations to model the uncertainty in decision input variables (e.g. price, demand, etc.) and supplement the overall estimate of interest by a risk interval of possible other outcomes using risk simulation; (2) model the variability in arrivals over time (customers, cars at a toll plaza, data packets, etc.) and ensuing queues, using queuing theory; (3) how to employ decision trees to incorporate information derived from models to actually make optimal decisions.

  • Introductory
  • 4 Weeks
  • Expert Instructor
  • Tuiton-Back Guarantee
  • 100% Online
  • TA Support

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students will understand how to use spreadsheet-based software to construct and implement simulations to model uncertainty in decision inputs and risk intervals. They will model variability in arrivals over time using queuing theory. They will also learn how to use decision trees to incorporate information derived from these models to make optimal decisions.

  • Use simulation to describe and measure the impact of uncertainty on decision problems.
  • How to use optimization techniques with simulation to mitigate and manage risk.
  • How queuing models are used to describe and manage the behavior of waiting lines.
  • How to use payoff tables, decision trees and multi-criteria scoring models to analyze decisions problems.

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.

Our Instructors

Dr. Cliff Ragsdale

Dr. Cliff Ragsdale

Cliff T. Ragsdale is Bank of America Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech. His primary research interests involve applications of quantitative modeling techniques to managerial decision making problems using microcomputers. Dr. Ragsdale has served as a consultant for a variety of organizations including General Mills, The World Bank, Frontline Systems, and Dominion Energy. His research has been published in Decision Sciences, Naval Research Logistics, Operations Research Letters, Computers and Operations Research, OMEGA, Personal Financial Planning, Financial Services Review, Decision Support Systems, and a number of other scholarly journals. He is a Fellow of Decision Sciences Institute and a member of INFORMS. He has also served as the faculty advisor for the Virginia Tech student chapter of APICS and on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Chapter of APICS.

Course Syllabus

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


  • 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

Class Dates


05/12/2023 to 06/09/2023
11/10/2023 to 12/08/2023


05/10/2024 to 06/07/2024
11/08/2024 to 12/06/2024


05/09/2025 to 06/06/2025


Ability to use Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet program is necessary.

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  • Skill: Introductory
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Risk Simulation and Queuing

Additional Information


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

Course Text


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   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.

Supplemental Information

Literacy, Accessibility, and Dyslexia

At, we aim to provide a learning environment suitable for everyone. To help you get the most out of your learning experience, we have researched and tested several assistance tools. For students with dyslexia, colorblindness, or reading difficulties, we recommend the following web browser add-ons and extensions:







  • Navidys (for colorblindness, dyslexia, and reading difficulties)
  • HelperBird for Safari (for colorblindness, dyslexia, and reading difficulties)

Register For This Course

Risk Simulation and Queuing