Queuing Theory


DEFINITION of 'Queuing Theory '

A mathematical method of analyzing the congestions and delays of waiting in line. Queuing theory examines every component of waiting in line to be served, including the arrival process, service process, number of servers, number of system places and the number of "customers" (which might be people, data packets, cars, etc.). Real-life applications of queuing theory include providing faster customer service, improving traffic flow, shipping orders efficiently from a warehouse and designing telecommunications systems such as call centers.

BREAKING DOWN 'Queuing Theory '

Queuing theory is used to develop more efficient queuing systems that reduce customer wait times and increase the number of customers that can be served. For example, a 2003 paper by Stanford School of Business professor Lawrence Wein used queuing theory to analyze the potential effects of a bioterrorism attack on U.S. soil and propose a system to reduce wait times for medications that would decrease the number of deaths caused by such an attack.

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