Three years of scientific advancements from the Winter Simulation Conferences

The picture of library with the collection of books

In this blog post, we will look at the most interesting and informative scientific papers from the Winter Simulation Conference over the last three years. Throughout this digest, you will find academic papers that were dedicated to simulation application in a range of sectors, namely:

About the WSC

The Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) is an international forum devoted to developments in simulation modeling and analysis methodology in a diverse range of simulation application areas. The first WSC was held in 1967 in New York City and continues to be conducted nowadays.

Scientific papers and case studies highlight innovations in both theory and application. The most popular industries that were mentioned in scientific papers over the last few years were healthcare, manufacturing, and supply chains. Let us go deeper into these studies.


In the following paper, the researchers presented a flow shop simulation model developed with AnyLogic software. The aim was to solve production scheduling problems under uncertainty, which had been derived from a real industrial use case of a supplier in the automotive industry. The production scheduling solution showed that the combination of data analysis to estimate the flow shop model parameters, heuristic optimization, and detailed stochastic simulation results in robust schedules that can be used in real systems.

The next study is also dedicated to both production and ecology. As the semiconductor industry faces pressure to reduce its extensive energy consumption, it requires transparency on the relationship between energy efficiency and original planning objectives. This paper aimed to develop an extension to the existing operating curve concept by investigating the effect of utilization on energy efficiency with the use of simulation modeling.

The new concept of the ecological operating curve added energy efficiency-related aspects to the existing and, so far, only economically motivated concept of the operating curve. The concept extension revealed that, until a certain threshold of utilization, economic and ecological objectives mutually benefited each other.

Another paper was dedicated to the leather luxury accessories industry, which often requires the re-optimization and redesign of production flows. The objective was to propose a data-driven simulation model for production balancing and optimization. By analyzing the common characteristics of the different contexts, a generic framework for simulation has been defined. This framework could be used as a valuable support for production planning, scheduling optimization, workload management, and production cycle balancing.

More articles on manufacturing processes are available on our website >>


The aim of the first research was to determine the booking size for vessels in oversea delivery to minimize transportation costs. The study investigated a different source of uncertainty, which was the waiting time for the next vessel that was scheduled on a specific route connecting two international ports. The results of the simulation showed that the higher the variance in the shipping cycle, the higher the optimal booking size and the total transportation costs were.

Another study focused on determining routes for replacement services and adjusting headways in the event of scheduled shutdowns of subway lines. The transportation network and maintenance optimization research was based on the recent case of the renewal of Vienna’s oldest subway line. The approach that combines the generic algorithm and transport network optimization model reduced the average travel time of the passenger.

Read more papers about logistics on our website >>

Supply chains and delivery

In the first research study, the specialists investigated ways to decrease the bullwhip effect via risk pooling and information sharing through a simulation study. A simulation model was developed to evaluate how risk pooling and information sharing between distinct entities in a supply chain could reduce the bullwhip effects. The results showed that when both strategies were adopted, the supply chain faced less order amplification throughout the supply chain.

The supply chain with information sharing and risk pooling

The supply chain with information sharing and risk pooling

In another article, the supply chain risk management model, built with AnyLogic software, focused on roll-on/roll-off maritime transport connectivity between Ireland, the UK, and other EU member states. Dairy products from Ireland are exported to the UK, and cheese products are extremely vulnerable to delays at ports.

The aim of the simulation model was to analyze and quantify the expected disruptions and delays at Irish ports after Brexit. The model outcomes suggested that the Irish and EU negotiators needed to emphasize easing the non-tariff barriers at the UK ports and providing fast lanes for the trucks that carry limited shelf life and perishable products.

A picture of a road with two trucks

Supply chain risk management using simulation

As the last mile of delivery is the costliest portion of the supply chain for all delivery companies, they have started to experiment with drones as a source of package transportation. AnyLogic simulation models help with such investigations. In the paper, the researchers leveraged the optimization of the drone delivery system design to minimize the cost of serving the maximum capacity of customers. To do that, the specialists modeled the drone delivery problem with AnyLogic to choose the locations of drone depots and charging stations using a genetic algorithm.

The last but not the least interesting paper encouraged the use of simulation and optimization to compare costs and revenue between automated parcel locker networks in the cities of Pamplona (Spain), Zakopane and Krakow (Poland). The obtained results of this research showed symptomatic aspects of the automated parcel locker market in the considered cities. The outcomes suggested efficient APL networks considering cultural and demographic factors for massive use of APLs in high-demand periods.

The simulation optimization approach

The simulation optimization approach

Check out more papers about supply chain management on the website >>


The following article incorporated supply chains and healthcare topics. A simulation study of interventions was conducted to ensure a stable supply of a generic medicine in Norway. A simulation modeling framework was proposed to evaluate the effect of alternative supply chain shortage interventions in response to various disruptions. The model results suggested that the modeled supply chain was capable of absorbing and recovering from the examined disruptions when interventions were implemented.

Efficient management of emergency departments (EDs) and their resources is required more than ever since COVID-19 and can be achieved by optimizing resource utilization or by improving hospital layout. The next paper provided a case study of the Uppsala University Hospital.

A data-driven simulation model was designed to examine the current state of the patient flow and investigate potential logistics solutions for improving that flow. The designed simulation model underlined the advantages of a new ward dedicated to patients with complex diagnoses in achieving a better level of healthcare services and revealing the necessary capacity in the critical wards of the ED in terms of physicians and beds.

Read more available studies dedicated to healthcare >>


To meet the increasing demand for rapid and flexible large-scale warehousing activities, shuttle-based storage and retrieval systems (SBS/RSs) have been widely applied in distribution centers and production sites. The research investigated the configuration design problem and the operational control problem. The simulation model was created to develop the design and configuration methodology and operational control strategy of SBS/RS-based warehouse systems. This enabled researchers to evaluate performance under configurable demand scenarios.

SBS/RS-based warehouse system simulation model built with AnyLogic

SBS/RS-based warehouse system simulation model built with AnyLogic

The next academic article aimed to indicate how a firm can minimize costs by identifying needed resources of each type to maximize resource utilization in a warehouse. The researchers developed a simulation model to evaluate the performance of order picking. They varied the number of autonomous mobile robots and pickers and considered both traditional and cross-aisled warehouse layouts. With the help of AnyLogic, racking, forklifts, pit walls, robots, staff, and shift structure could be easily analyzed to minimize costs.

The purpose of the following academic article was to find the best location in a warehouse to store the products. The specialists proposed a clustering method based on the gravity model to find an optimal layout and pick paths. Using AnyLogic software, they tested the proposed method, which improved the performance.


The building sector needs a robust sustainability evaluation and benchmarking mechanism. To evaluate complex systems, simulation modeling was applied to generate scenarios for buildings. These scenarios were then used to develop benchmarks for their sustainability performance.

With a system dynamics-based framework, specialists could quantify interactions as well as account for uncertainties such as changing electricity consumption as well as water and energy usage conditions. This could be used by policymakers and project stakeholders to standardize and set benchmarks for sustainability performance in the building sector.

The next study introduced a green performance bond framework as a potential solution for managing greenhouse gas emissions during construction. The research team conducted simulation experiments in which contractors attempted to increase their probability of winning by intentionally submitting an unrealistic emission mitigation plan. The simulation results proved that applying the green performance bond framework could significantly reduce emissions.

Read more academic articles on construction on our website >>

Energy systems

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a substantial global target for humanity. That is why EVs are becoming more popular every year.

The storage of electrical energy is becoming increasingly important to satisfy demand through renewable energy sources. The determining factor regarding losses in storage and possible savings for users was the insulation of the thermal storage. Researchers investigated continuous and discrete simulation approaches for a pumped thermal energy storage. Results showed that the discrete simulation was significantly faster and had neglectable deviation in the resolution of heat loss computations and accuracy.

A picture of offshore wind farms

Generating sustainable, green energy via offshore wind farms

One more paper on renewables focused on the optimization of installation cycles for offshore wind farms. Researchers proposed a cascading online simulation framework that applied nested simulation runs, combining current forecasts and historical data, to achieve a globalized optimization. This framework used the same AnyLogic simulation model for the online and child simulation runs but provided different weather data for both. This article also conducted an experiment to investigate the influence of the selected cost function on the results.

Check out more papers related to energy systems on the website >>


One article, within the context of airport operations, proposed a new resource booking system that operates in real-time and deals with related uncertainties. This booking mechanism was intended to allow airlines to book ground support equipment in advance.

Another study focused on the real-time management of aircraft turnaround operations and evaluating dispatching rules for prioritizing jobs waiting for processing by the same resource (e.g., a machine). A decision should have been made every time a resource was set free, and this job had the highest priority. The developers aimed to investigate multi-criteria decision analysis methods to support the choice of the ‘best’ dispatching rule.

A picture of an airplane at the airport

Improving the management of airport operations and aircraft production through simulation

One of last year’s studies was about using simulation to co-define the optimal industrial system configuration for a future aircraft. It included a case study determining the logistic system for aircraft fuselage manufacturing. Compared to manually defined and modeled scenarios, the automated, data-driven, and cloud-based approach supported the detailed analysis of a large number of scenarios by simulation. This approach also helped reduce the costs of manual modeling.

More papers on aerospace are available on our website >>

To sum up: theory and applications of simulation modeling

Academic articles from the Winter Simulation Conferences highlighted innovations in different areas, from healthcare to construction engineering, where the application of AnyLogic was helpful and significant. The focus of the recent conferences was an urban future where cities are safe, green, and environmentally secure with seamless power, water, and transportation networks, and sustainable high-tech manufacturing and services play an essential role.

At the conferences, there were also informative studies about education, vehicles, animal feed, mining, retail, trading, and risk management. Read more academic papers from the WSC that reflect the latest scientific advancements in simulation modeling applications.

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