Additional Commentary on “Little’s Law”

As a followup to discussion on Little’s Law as Viewed on its 50th Anniversary, John Little and Ron Wolff have provided a further discussion of issues related to Little’s Law entitled “The ‘Flaw’ in Little (1961), its identification, and its fixes”. In this commentary, Little and Wolff discuss the history and resolution of issues in Little’s original proof of L = λW.


Little (1961) has a well known “flaw,” first pointed out by Brumelle (1971). Our Commentary provides a brief history of the flaw and its various fixes. The latter include Brumelle (1971), Franken (1976), Franken et al., (1982), Whitt (1991), Stidham (2002), and Wolff (2011).

Brumelle (1971) set out to generalize the formula L=λW , which Little (1961) had apparently proved under quite general stationary conditions. In the course of his work, Brumelle found that not all the conditions required by Little could be made simultaneously.


You can read the full commentary pdf here .