Detecting bias due to input modelling in computer simulation

Morgan, Lucy and Nelson, Barry and Titman, Andrew and Worthington, David (2019) Detecting bias due to input modelling in computer simulation. European Journal of Operational Research, 279 (3). pp. 869-881. ISSN 0377-2217

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This is the first paper to approach the problem of bias in the output of a stochastic simulation due to using input distributions whose parameters were estimated from real-world data. We consider, in particular, the bias in simulation-based estimators of the expected value (long-run average) of the real-world system performance; this bias will be present even if one employs unbiased estimators of the input distribution parameters due to the (typically) nonlinear relationship between these parameters and the output response. To date this bias has been assumed to be negligible because it decreases rapidly as the quantity of real-world input data increases. While true asymptotically, this property does not imply that the bias is actually small when, as is always the case, data are finite. We present a delta-method approach to bias estimation that evaluates the nonlinearity of the expected-value performance surface as a function of the input-model parameters. Since this response surface is unknown, we propose an innovative experimental design to fit a response-surface model that facilitates a test for detecting a bias of a relevant size with specified power. We evaluate the method using controlled experiments, and demonstrate it through a realistic case study concerning a healthcare call centre.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
European Journal of Operational Research
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in European Journal of Operational Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in European Journal of Operational Research, 279, 3, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2019.06.003
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? simulationbiasuncertaintyinput modellingmodelling and simulationmanagement science and operations researchinformation systems and management ??
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Deposited On:
22 Jun 2019 09:16
Last Modified:
28 Apr 2024 23:47