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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.


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.

References in periodicals archive ?
This may bring a wry smile to the face of Brits who are used to enduring much longer queues without any of us moving from one place to another, but in legislative terms we have had a tendency to emulate the US way of things over the past 20 years.
When in a queue, a customer could see an update of her queue status and knows when to return to be served by a simple refresh tap.
Queuing only optimizes command re-ordering if a queue of requests is built up in the drive.
Then there were the thousands of people who were prepared to queue for countless hours at the Vatican to see the Pope (or rather, his corpse) - and some of them had travelled halfway round the world for this.
Recent research into the journey passengers take through an airport terminal prior to boarding the plane reveals that stress levels are high until they are standing in the right queue.
We begin by considering the effects of time scale on queue sizes in an individual node.
Queue time is the time the product spends waiting for a productive operation.
Lawrence, a Tensator Group Company and world leader in customer queue management solutions, today announced three major retail customer wins and increased company momentum as retailers turn to innovative solutions to drive transactional value.
On the sole occasion I used the private health sector, it was not to 'jump a queue, but to correct two botched NHS operations.
ISLAMABAD -- Long queues of vehicles at Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations in twin cities due to opening of the sale of CNG for vehicles after four days has been causing delays in movement of vehicular traffic.
In this scenario, "Rated G for Netflix" iPad app provides the peace of mind that parents need for when children browse Netflix and add films to their own queue.
When we choose to queue for something, outside the store for a bargain in the example above, we consider it good use of our time and a worthy endeavour.