Nobody likes to wait in a queue. Almost everyone in a queue at immigration or in a road traffic has considered
- What if I move to the other queue? Thats going faster
- Why haven't they added more servers / units / lanes to service?
- This is just the bad time of the day. Should have started early.
Its a science! These things can be answered by formulas and you can study these systems formally.
The mathematical field of studying queues is called Queueing Theory.
Queueing Theory 101
How things arrive? Stream, Batch
Is there a normal arrival distribution?
Are the arrival times finite / infinite?
Kind of resources needed to service
How long does it take ?
Number of servers available
How many can be serviced?
Parallel / Serial?
Single / Multiple Queues
Balking (people/things don't join, if queue is long)
Reneging (queue too long, leave mid way)
Jockeying (switch queue)
Finite / Infinite (queue lengths)
Questions we are interested in
- How long does a customer (*request) have to wait
- What is the probability of customer having to wait longer
- Average length of queue
- Expected utilisation of the server at any given point
- Is it worthwhile to improve on service times
- ‘Auto Scale!’
- Should we introduce priorities
- Is waiting area adequate
L = ƛW
ƛ = Arrival Rate
W = Waiting times
L = Total being serviced
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