Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Simulation as a Virtual Operations Laboratory (VOL)

Dr. Allen Greenwood

Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Mississippi State University

Friday, September 18, 2020

2:30-3:30pm via Zoom



Simulation is a key means for improving organizational performance because it provides valuable support to the problem-solving and decision-making processes. As such, it is oftentimes used in conjunction with process-improvement approaches, such as Lean, Six Sigma, and Industry 4.0. Simulation provides a powerful and robust means to represent any system; and it enables experimentation and analyses. Therefore, in addition to being an important means for designing and managing operations systems, simulation is a significant research tool for developing and testing ideas, theories, and hypotheses. It provides a test bed for prototyping and exploring new concepts in operations management and operation research.  Simulation is also a complement to other operations research techniques, such as optimization.

This seminar explores a number of the topics outlined above. After a brief introduction to the fundamentals of simulation, the seminar introduces how simulation is used to design, manage, and conduct research about operations systems. The description is supported by examples, mostly from the author’s work. The seminar also provides a brief introduction to one of the leading state-of-the-art simulation technologies, FlexSim simulation software.

The seminar is designed to be of interest to a diverse audience. It is expected to be relevant to a broad spectrum of industrial engineering domains. A detailed understanding of simulation and operations research is not required.



Allen Greenwood, Ph.D., P.E.(retired) is Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Mississippi State University and Simulation Education Specialist at FlexSim Software Products, Inc. He has been involved with simulation for nearly 45 years, including developing and teaching courses and workshops in systems simulation at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels, both in the U.S. and abroad. He has led applied simulation research projects in a wide variety of industries and domains that have been funded by numerous private and government organizations.

In addition to his faculty positions at Mississippi State, he was Professor of Engineering Management at Poznan University of Technology in Poland, Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering Management at Prince Sultan University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Professor of Engineering at the American University of Armenia, and Assistant Professor of Management Sciences at Northeastern University and Virginia Tech. At all of these institutions, he developed and taught simulation courses as well as courses in operations research / management science, logistics systems design, enterprise systems engineering, project management, statistics, decision analysis, and information systems.

His research interests/expertise include the design and analysis of production and project systems; simulation modeling, analysis, and optimization; and the design and application of decision-support systems.

Prior to academe, he held engineering and supervisory positions at American Enka Company and General Dynamics Corporation. During his academic career, he has led or was a principal contributor to numerous projects in industry, mostly in the area of systems simulation. As a result, his professional experience spans a wide variety of domains — engineering design and development (military aircraft and aerospace), manufacturing and production systems (military aircraft, shipbuilding, automotive, textile fibers, healthcare, electrical systems, material handling systems, consumer products, etc.), and project management. His work has been funded by such organizations as the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Office of Naval Research, Naval Sea Systems Command, NASA, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Nissan North America, General Electric Aviation, the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (MSU), and Poznan University of Technology.

He has authored or co-authored over 150 creative works, including journal and conference papers, technical reports, software programs, etc. In addition, he is co-author of Applied Simulation: Modeling and Analysis Using FlexSim, currently in its fifth edition.

He received his B.S.I.E, M.S.I.E, and Ph.D. (Management Science) degrees from North Carolina State University, University of Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, respectively. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas (retired).