What is Queueing Theory?

Queueing Theory is the study of queues (sometimes called waiting lines). Most people are familiar with the concept of queues; they exist all around us in daily lives. Queueing Theory can be used to describe these real world queues, or more abstract queues, such as are often found in many branches of computer science, for example in operating system design. This section of the project explores the mathematics and theory of queueing theory. For more information on worked examples of queueing theory application, see the section on Applications of Queueing Theory.

Much of queueing theory is very complex. Almost all of it relies heavily on mathematics, especially statistics. This section investigates the mathematics and theory of queueing theory, but much of the mathematics is formidable (some of it beyond graduate mathematics level) and therefore beyond the author. Thus, most important results will be stated, but not derived (where possible, a source where a proof can be found will be included). The mathematics for the M / M / 1 model will be worked through partially, but results for many of the other queueing models will be summarised in a table.

Last Updated: 7th June 1999
Written by: Andrew Ferrier