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queuing theory

queuing theory The study of systems in which customers, arriving at random and requiring varying periods of service, may have to wait in order to be served. From the number of service points and the probability distributions of arrival times and service times, the distribution of the length of queue and the waiting time before service may be predicted.

Queuing theory has important applications in any system liable to congestion, where the costs of improved service may be balanced against the costs of congestion.

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