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An ordered collection of persons or things in which one is serviced after another. For example, persons may form a queue to buy tickets to the cinema. Likewise, an employee may form a list of tasks to be done each day and perform them each in turn. The word queue is most common in Britain and the Commonwealth; the equivalent in American English is waiting line or simply line.
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the build-up of customers who are delayed while waiting for service. Queuing can occur in a retail outlet where shoppers queue at supermarket checkouts or cars queue on petrol station forecourts. Similar queuing problems occur in factories where components queue to be processed on machines.

Variability in the demand for service and the variable time to complete service makes it difficult to judge the level of service to provide for customers. Where numerous service channels are provided, customers will experience few delays even when many customers arrive simultaneously for service. On the other hand, providing numerous service channels involves large labour costs, as in the case of supermarket checkout staff or bank clerks, or large investment in physical facilities, such as tanker berths or airport runways.

Queuing models employing statistical techniques can be used to analyse queues and to balance the cost of resources used to provide service against the cost of the time lost by customers while waiting for service.

These models consider the number of potential customers; the likely rate at which they arrive; whether they arrive singly or in batches; the number of parallel queues; maximum queue length; order of service (first come, first served or prioritized); number of servers; likely service time; and whether customers are served singly or in batches. For complex queues, SIMULATION techniques may be employed to decide the level of service to provide and how to organize the service facilities. See BALK, MULTIPLE CHANNEL-SINGLE PHASE.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
The study investigates the tradeoff in improvement in performance of video packets against the degradation in performance of voice packets in terms of average waiting time as a function of load and arrival rate under MMPP/M/1 queue system.
where [Q.sub.k] denotes the queue content of the kth queue and with r = [[r.sub.1], [r.sub.2], ..., [r.sub.K]].
Worse, the queues are now far longer, taking much more time.
RQM uses a queue controller to minimize the difference between the instantaneous queue size and target queue size.
Police think that the long queues of vehicles outside the airport could be a security risk.
However, a Egyptian interviewee really appreciated the "queue culture" of Taiwan.
To overcome the shortcomings of previous studies, in which vehicle arrival was assumed to be uniformly distributed and the evolutionary process of queue length could not be described, we combined the advantages of traffic wave theory and the platoon dispersion model to analyze vehicle arrival.
Ishaya Muda who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune said that he had spent over 24 hours on the queue waiting for the commodity at one of the filling stations, a development he said had made him to lose important appointments.
These algorithms include Random Early Detection (RED) [12], Virtual Queue (VQ) [13, 14], Fair Queuing (FQ) [15], Stochastic Fair Queuing (SFQ) [16], Random Exponential Marking (REM) [16], Deficit Round Robin (DRR) [17], and Proportional Integrated (PI) [18, 19].
NEW DELHI -- The Petroleum Ministry in India tweeted on Friday that it was exploring options to avoid expenditure of excessive time as well as long queues at local petrol stations.