Simulation Notes Europe, Volume 31(2), June 2021

Reducing Response Time with Data Farming and Machine Learning

Simulation Notes Europe SNE 31(2), 2021, 87-94
DOI: 10.11128/


In industry, there are numerous applications for simulation. However, simulation in our area usually takes some time even if a preexisting model just needs to be parameterized; there is still the run time, which will usually take at least a few minutes if not hours. In our current case, a planner wanted to know for a given product mix situation and for an equipment group with specific characteristics how much he can utilize the equipment without violating flow factor targets. A question, which arises several times during a typical workday as new orders are coming in and the situation on the shop floor is continuously changing. Since the user is usually asking the same question just with different parameters we are able to solve the waiting time problem while still giving good decision support. Instead of simulating every scenario at the time the user actually needs these answers, we use data farming to generate a large set of data points that are then used to train a neural network. This neural network then substitutes for the simulation and responds to the user immediately.