Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date



Today, when we talk about “modeling” in the context of material handling systems, invariably we are referring to a mathematical or computational model for analyzing some aspect of the system, such as its throughput rate, response time, cost of ownership, required storage capacity, etc. Creating these kinds of models requires considerable knowledge in at least two domains the material handling system domain, and the analysis methodology domain—and considerable skill in the “art of modeling” in order to express the former in the terms of the latter. The results can be somewhat ad hoc—e.g., two different modelers are likely to create two somewhat different simulation models of exactly the same material handling system. In the past, the situation in software development was very similar, with individual programming experts idiosyncratically driving software development. Over the past twenty years, however, computer scientists and software engineers have created a radically different approach to the process of software “modeling” called Model Driven Architecture, or MDA, that is used to create software for standard applications. The thesis of this paper is that MDA can be adapted to the kind of modeling done to support design and operational decision making in material handling systems. The paper describes MDA technologies in the context of material handling system modeling, and explains how adapting this approach to our context will transform the way we do research and the way material handling systems are analyzed and designed in practice.


Paper 20

Publication Title

Progress in Material Handling Research: 2010