PUZZLOR

Golf queueing

John Toczekpuzzlor@gmail.com

P18_Caption(s):

Golf Queueing Saving time on the golf course.

Golfing can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to spend your time. Despite the attraction and fun of the game, there can be many challenges. One of the more common challenges for experienced players is waiting for slower players to finish a hole before the experienced player can start.

As the owner of a 9-hole golf course, you currently have a first-in-first-out policy. In other words, faster players are not allowed to jump ahead of slower players.

You are considering changing this first-in-first-out policy to a priority queueing policy to allow faster players to jump ahead of slower players in between holes.

Players arrive at your golf course at an inter-arrival time of 10 minutes, exponentially distributed. The players on your golf course have three different skill levels. Fast players complete holes at an average of five minutes. Medium players complete holes at an average of seven minutes. Slow players complete holes at an average of 10 minutes. All distributions are normal and have a standard deviation of one minute. Player skill level is randomly distributed (one-third fast, one-third medium, one-third slow).

Assume players start golfing as soon as they arrive on the course and that the system has achieved steady state. Each player is golfing individually (not in a group), and players must go in sequential order from hole 1 to hole 9. Players can only jump the queue if a slower player has not yet started the hole.

Question:
How much time on average (in minutes) will a player save if you convert to the priority queueing from first-in-first-out queueing?

Send your answer to puzzlor@gmail.com by Feb. 15, 2014. The winner, chosen randomly from correct answers, will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Past questions can be found at puzzlor.com.

John Toczek is the senior director of decision support and analytics for ARAMARK Corporation in the Global Operational Excellence Group. He earned his BSc. in chemical engineering at Drexel University (1996) and his MSc. in operations research from Virginia Commonwealth University (2005).