Friday, June 24, 2011

Paper: Human resource behaviour simulation in business processes

Our PhD student Hanwen Guo has been busily working away on simulating human agent behaviours with regards to workflow systems such as YAWL. He has now developed and tested an HTN-based set of agents for testing resource models in virtual worlds. Preliminary results are available in an ISD (Era A) conference paper here, applied to a health care workflow scenario.

Well done Hanwen!



The structure and dynamics of a modern business environment are very hard to model using traditional methods. Such complexity raises challenges to effective business analysis and improvement. The importance of applying business process simulation to ana- lyze and improve business activities has been widely recognized. However, one remaining challenge is the development of approaches to human resource behavior simulation. To ad- dress this problem, we describe a novel simulation approach where intelligent agents are used to simulate human resources by performing allocated work from a workflow manage- ment system. The behavior of the intelligent agents is driven a by state transition mechan- ism called a Hierarchical Task Network (HTN). We demonstrate and validate our simulator via a medical treatment process case study. Analysis of the simulation results shows that the behavior driven by the HTN is consistent with design of the workflow model. We be- lieve these preliminary results support the development of more sophisticated agent-based human resource simulation systems.

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