CS 525 - Simulation

Spring 2005

The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.

--- Richard W. Hamming

Table of Contents

Course Description

This is a graduate-level course in simulation; it will mainly be concerned with discrete-event simulation, but other forms of simulations will be covered too. See the CS 525 course catalog entry for more information.

The prerequisites for this class are CS 503, Advanced Programming I and CS 514, Networking.

The course is divided into seven two-week sections. See the syllabus for details.

The class meets in Howard Hall 522 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. Monday, 28 March is the last day to withdraw from class with a W on your transcript.


At the end of this course you should be able to

  1. understand the basic mechanisms and principles behind system modeling and simulation,

  2. know when and how to develop your own good-quality simulations, and

  3. judge the appropriateness and quality of other people's simulations.


R. Clayton, Howard Hall B-13, rclayton@monmouth.edu, 732 263 5522. My office hours are from 6 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in my office. I'm also usually happy to talk to you any time you can catch me; setting up an appointment is recommended, see my schedule for available times.


The usual grade ranges are in effect:
95 <=A
90 <=A-< 95
86.6<=B+< 90
83.3<=B < 86.6
80 <=B-< 83.3
76.6<=C+< 80
73.3<=C < 76.6
70 <=C-< 73.3
F < 70
All grades are kept with one digit of precision to the right of the decimal point and 0.05 rounded up. No grades are adjusted to a curve; that means, for example, that 89.9 is always a B+, never an A-.

Final Grade

The final grade for this class is the average of three grades: quiz grades, simulation grades, and presentation grades, with the following weights:

    quiz grades40%
    simulation grades50%
    presentation grades10%


There will be seven quizzes, one quiz for each of the seven sections; see the syllabus for the schedule. Quizzes will be given in class, and are closed book with no notes; calculators and computers will not be necessary. The quizzes are cumulative, covering everything taught up to and including the class before the quiz. Quizzes should take no more than a half-hour to complete, and will be given within the first hour of class. Quiz answers will be made available off the syllabus. There will be no other quizzes; no mid-terms or finals.


There will be five simulation assignments, three two-week assignments and two four week assignments; see the syllabus for details. The three two-week assignments are single person assignments; the two four-week assignments may be done in groups of two. The first four assignments will be assigned; the last assignment is an open project.


Each simulation assignment is followed by a brief, ten-minute presentation describing the simulation and its results.



The textbook for this course is Discrete Event Simulation in C by Kevin Watkins, McGraw-Hill, 1993.

An annotated bibliography of other books of interest.


You should feel free to send me e-mail. Unless I warn you beforehand, I'll usually respond within a couple of hours during the usual work days; if I don't respond within a day, resend the message.

Mail relevant to the class will be stored in a hyper-mail archive. If your message is of general interest to the class, I'll store it, suitably stripped of identification and along with my answer, in the archive.

Home page

If you're reading this on paper, you can find the class home page at http://www.monmouth.edu/rclayton/web-pages/s05-525/index.html. I'll make the class notes, assignments, and quizzes available off the syllabus; you should get in the habit of checking the home page and syllabus regularly.



People who need assistance or accommodations above and beyond what is usually provided in class should contact the University's ADA/504 coordinator to get those needs met. See me or the Disability Services page for more details.


I have no class attendance policy; you may attend class or not as you see fit. However, I hold you responsible for knowing everything that goes on in class; "I wasn't in class for that." is not an acceptable excuse for a wrong answer, or for giving no answer at all.

My attendance policy applies only to lecture attendance; it does not apply to other kinds of attendance which may be required for the course. Repeated failures to meet the attendance expectations set for tests, meetings, projects, labs or other forms of course work will have a bad influence on your grade.


I deal with suspected cheating by failing first and asking questions later. Although cheating has many forms, I generally consider cheating to be any attempt to claim someone else's work as your own; also, I consider both the provider and the user of the work guilty of cheating. See the chapters on Academic Information and the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook for more details.

Complaining about Grades

I recognize and encourage a student's sacred right to complain about their grade. There are, however, a few rules under which such complaining should take place, and those students who don't follow the rules will be less successful in their complaints than those students who do follow the rules.

First, the only complaint that matters is that something got marked wrong when it was actually right. When you come to complain, be prepared to present, in explicit detail, what it is you did and why you think it's right.

Second, complaints about a particular test or assignment are only valid until the next test or assignment is due; after that point the book is permanently closed on all previous test or assignment grades.

Late Assignments

Assignments must be turned in by their due date; assignments turned in after their due date are late. You should contact me as soon as possible if you need to negotiate a due-date extension. The longer you wait to negotiate, the less likely it is you'll be successful; in particular, you have almost no chance of getting an extension if you try for one the day before the due date, and you have no chance of getting an extention on the due date.

A late assignment is penalized five points a day for each day it's late. I use a 24-hour clock running from midnight to midnight to measure days; note this means that an assignment handed in the day after it's due is penalized ten points: five for the day it was due and five for the next day.

Missing Tests

There may occasionally be a conflict between taking a test and doing something else, particularly among those working full time. If you're going to be out of town, or on jury duty, or whatever, on a test day, let me know beforehand and we'll discuss a make-up test.

A make-up test must be scheduled to be taken by the date of the test following the missed test (or the final exam if you miss the last test). If a missed test is not made up by the time of the next test, you get a zero for the missed test.

There will be only one make up given per missed test. If more than one person misses the same test, those people will have to coordinate among themselves to pick a mutually agreeable date for the make up.


A Euro-centric page on simulation.

The Department of Defense's Defense Modeling and Simulation Office (DOD DMSO for the word-phobic).

The Society for Modeling and Simulation.

Some archives of Internet and web traffic traces.

A list of simulation development frameworks, "preferably discrete-event, open source and free".

This page last modified on 21 April 2005.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.