Control of a tandem queue with a startup cost for the second server

A. Hristov*, S. Bhulai, R. D. van der Mei, J. W. Bosman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Various systems across a broad range of applications contain tandem queues. Strong dependence between the servers has proven to make such networks complicated and difficult to study. Exact analysis is rarely computationally tractable and sometimes not even possible. Nevertheless, as it is most often the case in reality, there are costs associated with running such systems, and therefore, optimizing the control of tandem queues is of main interest from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. Motivated by this, the present paper considers a tandem queueing network with linear holding costs and a startup cost for the second server. In our work, we present a rather intuitive, easy to understand, and at the same time very accurate technique to approximate the optimal decision policy. Extensive numerical experimentation shows that the approximation works extremely well for a wide range of parameter combinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-374
Number of pages13
JournalStochastic Models
Issue number3
Early online date11 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Published online: 11 Sep 2018


  • Approximation algorithm
  • MDP
  • optimal control
  • startup costs
  • tandem queue


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