# Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models)

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1 Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) STATGRAPHICS Rev. 9/16/2013 Summary... 1 Example # Example # Summary Monte Carlo simulation is used to estimate the distribution of variables when it is impossible or impractical to determine that distribution theoretically. It is used in many areas, including engineering, finance, and DFSS (Design for Six Sigma). A typical Monte Carlo simulation includes: 1. One or more input variables X, some of which usually follow a probability distribution. 2. One or more output variables Y, whose distribution is desired. 3. A mathematical model coupling the X s and the Y s. This document considers some examples. Example #1 The first example comes from the book titled Design for Six Sigma in Technology and Product Development by Clyde M. Creveling, Jeff Slutsky, and Dave Antis (Prentice Hall, 2002). They describe the use of a Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the distribution of the total time required to complete the development of a DFSS Phase 1 concept. Development of the concept involves 12 tasks, each of which has an uncertain duration. In their example, there are 12 inputs: X i = duration of task i in days for i = 1, 2,, 12. The output variable is Y = total time required to complete all 12 tasks. The model linking the input and outputs is simply Y = X 1 + X X 12 (1) Each of the input variables is assumed to follow a triangular distribution with the following parameters: Task Lower limit Median Upper limit by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 1

2 STATGRAPHICS Rev. 9/16/2013 While the mean and variance of the total time Y could be determined theoretically, they were also interested in determining percentiles of the distribution from which specification limits for product development cycle times could be established. To build a simulation model for this problem, the following steps are required: Step 1: Create a datasheet with columns for each of the input and output variables. In this case, that requires a datasheet with the following 13 numeric columns: This sheet has been saved as montecarlo1.sgd. Step 2: Specify the input and output variables. This is done by selecting Monte Carlo Simulation General Simulation Model from the Tools menu. When a new analysis window is created, press the leftmost button on the analysis toolbar (the Input dialog button) to display the dialog box shown below: 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 2

3 First set the number of variables to 13. Then use the pulldown variable lists to select each input X variable and then the output Y variables. NOTE: When the simulation is performed, the variables will be created from the top down. If any variables depend on others, be sure that the dependent variables are listed below the variables that they depend on. Step 3: For each input variable, specify its probability distribution. This is done by selecting a distribution from the Type pulldown list. In this case, the length of each input task is assumed to be a triangular random variable. When Triangular r.v. is selected, a dialog box will be displayed on which to enter the parameters of the selected distribution: After all distributions are specified, the main dialog box will appear as shown below: 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 3

4 Step 4: For each output variable, specify its dependence on the input variables. This is down by selecting Function from the Type pulldown list, which displays the following dialog box: Any valid STATGRAPHICS expression can be used. After pressing OK, the input dialog box will appear as shown below: 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 4

6 Sample size: the number of values to be generated for each variable. Random number generator: whether to generate a new seed for the random number generator when the simulation is run, or if the seed displayed on the dialog box should be used. If you use a fixed seed, you can replicate the results of a previous simulation. Step 6: Press OK to run the simulation. The specified number of observations will be generated for each variable, working from the top down. The results will then be added to the datasheet, as shown below: Step 7: To display statistics for the generated data, press the Tables and Graphs button on the analysis toolbar to display any of the following: 1. Summary Statistics 2. Confidence Intervals 3. Percentiles 4. Frequency Tabulation 5. Frequency Histogram 6. Box-and-Whisker Plot 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 6

8 Example #2 The second example deals with sales forecasting. Suppose that we wish to predict the monthly profit from selling a software product. Let: S = number of units sold during a month P = average price per unit C = cost per unit (cost of goods only) E = other expenses for the month We propose the following simple model for profit during a month: profit = S * (P C) E To predict the profits during a month, we need to make assumptions about the input variables: (1) Assume that S follows a normal distribution with a mean of 2,000 and a standard deviation of 250. (2) Assume that P follows a normal distribution with a mean of \$500 and a standard deviation of \$10. (3) Assume that E follows a Weibull distribution with a shape parameter equal to 2 and a scale parameter equal to 500,000. (4) Assume that C is known to equal \$30. To build a simulation model for this problem, the following steps are required: Step 1: Create a datasheet with columns for each of the input and output variables. In this case, that requires a datasheet with the following 5 numeric columns: 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 8

9 This sheet has been saved as montecarlo2.sgd. Step 2: Specify the input and output variables by selecting Monte Carlo Simulation General Simulation Model from the Tools menu. When a new analysis window is created, press the leftmost button on the analysis toolbar (the Input dialog button) to specify the names and types of the variables: 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 9

10 Note that S has been set to a constant value of 30. Step 3: To run the simulation, press the Analysis Options button on the analysis toolbar, set the desired parameters, and then press OK. The summary statistics for the simulated results are shown below: Summary Statistics S P C E Profit Count Average Standard deviation Coeff. of variation % % 0.0% % % Minimum Maximum E E6 Range E E6 Stnd. skewness Stnd. kurtosis A frequency histogram for monthly profit is shown below: 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 10

11 frequency frequency STATGRAPHICS Rev. 9/16/2013 Histogram Profit Notice that although the average profit is quite large, there is a chance of losing money in any given month. This is primarily due to the uncertainty about expenses, which can be displayed using Pane Options to change the histogram variable: Histogram (X ) E 2013 by StatPoint Technologies, Inc. Monte Carlo Simulation (General Simulation Models) - 11

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