Digital Computer Simulation

Statistical Considerations

by George S. Fishman, Philip J. Kiviat

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A discussion of the statistical problems that arise in computer simulation experiments. Three problem areas inherent in all stochastic system simulation models are discussed: verification, which determines whether a model actually behaves as an experimenter assumes it does; validation, which tests whether the model reasonably approximates a real system; and problem analysis, which seeks to ensure proper execution of a simulation and proper handling of its results. The study traces the elements of a simulation experiment from initial conception to analysis of final results, defining the statistical problems that arise at each step and relating them to the formal body of statistical theory. Since the aim is to promote awareness of problems, not to solve them, the study offers no general solutions but provides references germane to the statistical problems described.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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