Most business processes can be described as a sequence of separate, discrete, events. For example, a truck arrives at a warehouse, goes to an unloading gate, unloads, and then departs. To simulate this, discrete event modeling is often chosen.
Using discrete event modeling, the movement of a train from point A to point B is modeled with two events, namely a departure and an arrival. The actual movement of the train would be modeled as a time delay between the departure and arrival events. These events and movement between them can be smoothly animated.
Discrete event modeling focuses on the processes in a system at a medium level of abstraction. Typically, specific physical details, such as car geometry or train acceleration, are not represented. Discrete event modeling is widely used in the manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare fields.
Discrete event and multimethod simulation
When the system under analysis can naturally be described as a sequence of operations, discrete event modeling techniques should be used. However, it is not always clear which of the three modeling paradigms is best for a system. For example, if it is easier to describe the behavior of each individual object than trying to create a global workflow, agent based modeling may be the solution. Similarly, if you are interested in aggregate values, and not individual unit interaction, system dynamics may be applied. AnyLogic supports and integrates all three modeling methods, so you can experiment with abstraction levels and modeling approaches without needing multiple tools.
In classic discrete event tools, the entities are passive and can only have attributes that affect the way they are handled. In AnyLogic multimethod simulation software, entities and resources can be modeled as agents with individual behavior and state changes. For example, in a manufacturing model, a crane can be modeled as a resource in a process flowchart, but at the same time have state changes inside, including idle, moving, turning, loading, and so on. With multimethod modeling, the right models can be built without workarounds.
For rapid and easy discrete event model development, AnyLogic provides the Process Modeling Library. It is a primary toolkit of highly customizable objects for defining process workflows and resources. These objects easily interoperate with elements from Fluid, Rail, Road Traffic, and other AnyLogic Libraries and components.
The Process Modeling Library works closely with the AnyLogic animation framework, enabling you to develop sophisticated process animations for clear communication and evaluation.