## A Dash of Queueing Theory

*I originally wrote this article in January 2015 for the
Static Showdown. I'm
republishing it here since Divshot
has shut down.*

The modern world is full of queues. There are queues everywhere from supermarkets and airports to web servers and databases. We organize ourselves in queues and we organize our work in queues. Therefore it is useful to understand a little bit about how these things called queues behave.

The problem is that the behavior of queues is actually pretty counterintuitive. Most queues that occur in the real world occur in situations with uncertainty and randomness. This brings us to the realm of statistical probabilities, which the human mind is not equipped to handle that well.

The field of queueing theory provides tools for getting around this: A quantitative approach combined with visualizations makes up for our lack of intuition. This article explores a few bits and pieces that I've found interesting when reading about queueing theory.