DATA 304 / COMP 312 (2020)

Simulation and Stochastic Models

Welcome to the home page for DATA304 and COMP 312 Simulation and Stochastic Models. This page provides information about the course, and will be updated as the course proceeds. You should visit this page frequently to ensure that you are aware of changes. If you find errors, note omissions, or have any other comments regarding these pages, please send them to A/Prof Stefanka Chukova at

An interesting part of the course is a group project where you measure and model the operation of a real system of your own choice. The queues in the pictures were studied several years ago. Other studies have involved a computer help desk, a post shop, a hair-cutting salon and the Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry.

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Adjustment to the assessment of DATA304/COMP312 (notice posted 3/4/2020)
After moving the course online and having in mind the exam period is non-existent for this semester, the following adjustment to the assessment of the course has been made:

Assignments (15%) + Quizzes (20%) + Project (25%)+ Practical(computing) test (20%) + Queueing test (20%).

For more information regarding the schedule and the due dates for the assessment items, see the subpage "Course Diary".

VUW Student Engagement Day - an announcement posted on Blackboard (notice posted 31/3/2020)
Thursday 2 April is VUW Student Engagement Day and we will have a Zoom meeting starting at our regular lecture time 3:10pm. The link to the Zoom room is posted on Blackboard. Please put this info in your planners! I expect to see all of you there. If for any reason you are not able to meet with us, please provide me with a reason so I can pass it to the university. The meeting will be around 30 min long and the main purpose is to make sure that everyone can connect and get engaged with the learning process. I will explain the changes that have been made to the delivery and assessment of the course due to the NZ lockdown. Stay safe everyone!

Announcement posted on Blackboard (notice posted 24/3/2020)
All VUW classes have been suspended and will resume on 28 April 2020. So, starting/including today, all dates indicated on the homepage of DATA304/COMP312, subpage "Course Diary", will be moved five weeks ahead. For example, the new due date for assignment 3 is 28 April 2020. Stay safe everyone!

Announcement posted on Blackboard (modified) (notice posted 20/3/2020)
Please find in the newly created menu item "Zoom Meetings" on Blackboard with the following content:

- A link to lecture notes and other notes taken during our online lectures and tutorials.

- A link to the Zoom lecture room

- The lectures on MM1, M/M/c, and M/M/infty.

More lectures/tutorials videos will be uploaded soon. Please watch them and if you have questions we will answer them during Zoom sessions after the teaching resumes.

Quiz 1 Reminder (notice posted 22/3/2020)
Quiz 1 will take place in the usual lab time on Thursday 26 March 2020, starting at 3:10pm. It will cover Python and readings for Lab1, Lab2, and Lab3. This will be an open book quiz, i.e., you can bring/use any notes or handouts you wish, use online help and any of your own code. Please read the course information sheet (below) for more information. The Quiz will be uploaded on the subpage "ProblemSet" just after 3pm. You will have 30 min to complete the quiz starting at 3:10pm. At the end of the quiz time, the quiz will be deleted from the page and you have to submit an email with your work to Dr Binh Nguyen within the next 10min.

First Zoom session (notice posted 19/3/2020)
will be held on Friday 20.03.2020 starting at 3:10pm in the previously advised virtual room.

Update DATA304/COMP312 moving online (notice posted 19/3/2020)
What is happening next?

  1. For the remaining of the trimester, on Sunday evening before the beginning of the week, all lectures for the week will be pre-recorded and available on Blackboard. You are required to study these lectures before the scheduled Zoom sessions, which will only summarise and clarify the material (not teach it again).
  2. We will have Zoom sessions at the regular lecture/tutorials/labs/study_session times in the virtual room that you have been already advised through Blackboard. We will discuss the topics included in the lectures, which you have already attempted to familiarise yourself with.
  3. The tutorials on Friday will be held only in Zoom session, with no pre-recording.
  4. The Quizzes will be held at the times listed in the subpage "Course Diary" and will start at the beginning of the allocated time slot. Usually, these will be 30min long (so, starting at 3:10 and ending at 3:40pm). You have to email your work within the next 10min to Binh or Stefanka (depending on the type of the quiz). Late quizzes will not be accepted.
  5. The assignments should be e-mailed to the marker ( before the deadline. These will be returned to you by email.
  6. The labs will be held in a Zoom session as given in the subpage "Course Diary". To receive the lab solutions, you have to email Binh your work on the lab's questions.
  7. The project will proceed as described in the subpage "Project", with the following adjustment - you will be given a row data set, collected in the previous years. By having the row data you already would have met the first two milestones. Meeting the deadlines of the remaining milestones should be a joint effort of all members of the group. The due dates remain unchanged. The group presentations will be held in a Zoom session.
  8. The practical final exam (currently scheduled for week 10) and the theoretical queueing exam (during the exam period) will be combined in a take-home exam. More details/timing on the take-home exam will be given later.

Update (notice posted 17/3/2020)
on the project groups has been posted on the Project subpage.

Welcome to DATA304/COMP312 (notice posted 20/01/2020)
Lectures begin on Tuesday 3 March. There are also lectures on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, one of which is allocated to the practical programming teaching. See the CourseDiary for further details. Note that the tutorials for this course are scheduled weekly.

Python Programming (notice posted 20/01/2020)
If you haven't done any programming for a while, or you haven't seen any Python programming, then you will find it very helpful to start learning it before the lectures begin. Have a look at the links to various helpful Python tutorials, particularly The Python Tutorial.

What do we study in DATA304/COMP312?

"DATA304/COMP312 Simulation and Stochastic Models" is a 15-point course which covers similar content to OPRE352/COMP312 in previous years. The focus is on simulation and modeling of stochastic systems, covering examples from queues, networks, and computer systems. We will also learn how to design, analyse and validate simulation experiments. Previous experience with computer programming is required before starting this course. The textbook is Hillier, F.S. and Lieberman, G.J., Introduction to Operations Research, McGraw-Hill (9th or 10th edition). The prerequisites are COMP 102 or 112 or 132 or DATA 202, one course from (ENGR 123, MATH 177, 277, STAT 292), 15 further 200-level COMP, DATA, MATH, NWEN, OPRE, STAT or SWEN pts.

Topic Textbook Lecturer
Python Programming and Simulation Lecture Notes Dr Binh Nguyen
Queues and Queueing Networks Lecture Notes A/Prof Stefanka Chukova

Course Information

The courses cover both Queueing Theory and Simulation. Queuing Theory is the use of stochastic models to help to make decisions associated with systems of congestion. Simulation is the art of modeling these systems using computers, in particular where analytical methods become too complicated.

Office Hours

Name Day Time Day Time
Chukova Tuesday 2 - 3 pm Wednesday 2 - 3 pm
Nguyen Wednesday 2 - 3 pm Other days By appointment

Class Representative

Course Facebook page

This is a closed, unsupervised by the course lecturer, facebook group for students to organise study groups or seek contact outside of the lectures. Join up! Any problems gaining entry contact Marwane.