SA402 Fall 2016

Last updated:

- 14 October 2016: Initial version.
- 7 November 2016: Updated deadline for finding your own article.

For this project, you will:

**read a research article**that uses a stochastic process to model and analyze a real-world system, and**write a review of the article**that summarizes and critiques the article's approach to studying the system.

By doing this project, I want you to:

- discover an interesting application of stochastic processes,
- gain some experience with reading scientific literature, and
- practice technical writing — a skill you will use well beyond your time at USNA.

- You must work in teams of 2 (one team may be just 1).
- You must submit a
**first draft**in class on Wednesday 23 November. - I will return your drafts on Monday 28 November, with suggestions for improvement and scores on course standards G1, G2, and G3.
- You may revise and resubmit your project
**twice**, any time before Friday 16 December. - If you are finding your own article, you must get my approval by
~~Monday 7 November~~Thursday 10 November. In addition, please include a hard copy of your article when submitting your first draft and revisions.

You may choose to read one of the following articles:

- P. Kolesar.
Stalking the endangered CAT: a queueing analysis of congestion at automatic teller machines.
*Interfaces*14(6): 16-26, 1984. [article on JSTOR] -
J. Meredith.
A Markovian analysis of a geriatric ward.
*Management Science*19(6): 604-612, 1973. [article on JSTOR] -
D. G. Morrison and R. D. Wheat.
Misapplications reviews: pulling the goalie revisited.
*Interfaces*16(6): 28-34, 1986. [article on JSTOR] -
J. M. Steele.
Models for managing secrets.
*Management Science*35(2): 240-248, 1989. [article on JSTOR]

I chose these articles because

- they represent a wide range of applications, and
- you should be able to understand these articles with a reasonable amount of effort.

Some of these articles may require reading ahead in the course.

You are welcome to find your own article for this project. Google Scholar is a pretty
good place to start. **If you choose to find your own article,
you must get my approval first (see above).**

Your review should address the following:

- What real-world system are the authors studying? Why is this study important?
- How do the authors model this system as a stochastic process? If they use a stochastic process model that we did not cover in class, provide an algorithmic description (using our general framework in Lesson 7).
- With their model, what assumptions do the authors make about the system they are studying? Do the authors validate these assumptions using data from the real-world system? Are these assumptions reasonable? Why or why not?
- What insights and conclusions do the authors draw from analyzing their model?
- How can the authors' model and analysis be improved?

**On reading:**

- Reading a scientific article takes a lot of time.
**Start early.**Don't let the relatively small page counts fool you. - The math in research articles is often not cleanly presented like in a textbook. You may need to seek some additional sources to fully understand what is going on — either by reading ahead in our textbook, or looking at other textbooks.

**On writing:**

**Your audience is your classmates.**Your review should contain just enough detail so that any of your classmates can read it and get a good idea of what's going on in the article.- Focus on making your review
**well-written and concise**. Note: "concise" doesn't mean "without mathematical details." - There is no minimum or maximum length for your review.
- Consider using
**section headings**to make your review easier to follow. **Proofread, proofread, proofread.**

**Cite all your sources**(at minimum, this should include the article you're reviewing). You can use whatever citation style you like (e.g. MLA, APA); just be consistent.- It is customary in the scientific
literature to simply refer to authors simply by their
**last names without titles**. For example: "Uhan (2010) used a stationary Poisson process to ..."

You will receive scores for course standards G1, G2 and G3 based on your project:

**G1. Understanding the stochastic process model and assumptions.**I can describe how the article's authors model the real-world system they are studying as a stochastic process. I can describe the assumptions they make about the system, and discuss whether these assumptions are reasonable.**G2. Understanding the analysis of the stochastic process model.**I can describe the insights and conclusions that the article's authors draw from studying their model. I can offer meaningful suggestions on how the authors' model can be improved.**G3. Technical writing.**I can write a review that is clear, concise, and well-organized.