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modelling is one of the most important aspects of a simulation study. It is
also the most difficult and least understood. Conceptual modelling is the
process of abstracting a model from a real or proposed system. It is certainly
the most important aspect of a simulation project. The design of a conceptual
model impacts all aspects of the study, such as data requirements, speed with
which the model can be developed, accuracy and validity of the model and speed
of experimentation and the confidence that is placed in the model results. A
well designed conceptual model enhances the possibility that a simulation study
will be success. Even though conceptual modelling is one of the most important
aspects of a simulation study, it is probably the most difficult part. The main
reason for this could be the fact that conceptual modelling is not a ‘science’,
it’s more of an ‘art’ and therefore it is hard to define methods and procedure
to develop a conceptual model.


Modelling is about abstracting a model from a real or proposed system. Almost
all simulation models are simplification of reality. The main issue in
conceptual modelling is to abstract an appropriate simplification of the
reality problem that we are simulating. Some key elements of a conceptual model
are ‘experimental frame’, ‘base model’ and ‘lumped model’. The experimental
frame is the set of circumstances under which the real system is observed that
is input-output behaviors. The base model is the hypothetical complete
explanation of the real system which can produce all possible input – output
behaviors.  Since full knowledge of the
real system cannot be attained, the base model cannot be fully known. In the
lumped model, the components of a model are lumped together and simplified. The
main objective of this model is to develop a model that is valid within the
experimental frame. All these models together comprised a conceptual model. The
conceptual model exists in the mind of a modeler. Also, the modeler specified
that the conceptual model is separate from model execution. The conceptual
model is not concerned with how the computer – based model is developed and
coded. This model is vague and ambiguous and then it is refined into a more
concrete executable model. Conceptual modelling is a subset of model design
which is about developing and refining the vague and ambiguous model and
creating model code. Conceptual modelling is about moving from a problem
situation through model requirements to a definition of what is to be modelled
and how. This process is iterative and repetitive, and the model is
continuously revised throughout the modelling study. The conceptual model is
independent of the model code and it is a simplified representation of the real

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A conceptual
model requires the following activities 17:


Understanding the problem situation

Determining the modelling and general project

Identifying the model outputs.

Identify the model inputs.

Determine the model content, identifying
assumptions and simplification


A well- documented
and accurate conceptual model minimizes the likelihood of incomplete, unclear,
inconsistent and wrong requirements, helps to build the credibility of the
model, guides the development of the data model, forms the basis of model
verification and validation, helps determine the appropriateness of the model
and parts for model reuse and distributed simulation etc. 17.


We implemented
three models in our conceptual model which are base model, intermediate model
and advanced model.

The base model
is the most basic model with a few locations. The locations in this model are a
distribution center and a house with few appliances (locations). Distribution
Center is responsible for sending the electricity packets to every location. To
differentiate between the electricity consumption of the location we used a
probabilistic distribution of the packets. So, we sent 50% of the packets to
the refrigerator, 30% to TV and 20% to washing machine.  

After setting up
the location we defined the routing and processing of the utilities packets in
our model. Once the packet reached the house they were utilized by the various
appliances in the location such as machines in the factory, lights fans etc.
The simulation is continuous since the distribution center will continuously
send electricity packets to the locations

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