Example Modeling Problem
The following is an example application of the
model development steps to a problem.
You have been hired by a company that produces
corn flakes (a breakfast cereal).
They must replace a storage bin used
to store corn stocks. In the past they have experienced
problems with the capacity of the bin.
Your job is to find the optimum size
of the storage bin.
You decide to use the model development steps
to develop an appropriate model for the system.
Identify and quantify objectives:
- System is the corn flake production plant
- Want to model flow of corn into and out of storage bin
- Need to model the level of corn (mass) in the bin
- Develop conceptual model using diagram
- Most important aspect of this step is to conceptualize the system
- Don't worry about computing and other resources initially -
later assumptions may be required to deal with such issues
- Try to understand what is important and what is not important
- Make clear what is being modeled - in this case
it is level of corn in bin and not the processing of the
corn to create corn flakes or the corn production system
or the transportation of corn to the processing plant
- In this case, probably don't need to model processes in production plant
or the transportation processes. Data for previous use of
corn in the production facility would likely be available for use.
- Formulate conceptual model (equations)
- In this case, the model is quite simple: Mass in storage bin=
input - output
- Previous records of output will be used to develop a corn use
- Rate of new corn arrival will also be determined from previous records
The remaining model steps are straight forward for this simple example.