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Interview with Andrey Malykhanov

We recently had the privilege to talk to Dr. Andrey Malykhanov, a world-class simulation modeler, and co-founder of Amalgama, a consulting company dedicated to tackling challenging problems with simulation.

You can watch the full interview here

Jaco-Ben, who conducted the interview got to ask Andrey if the advice he gave him almost a decade ago, when they first met, changed now that he has gained considerable experience and expertise. Andrey highlighted that the characteristics of a good simulation modeler is among other things the ability to:

  • Focus on the design and architecture of the model before you start building

  • Make your objects reuseable and add them into libraries,

  • Put a lot of focus on verification and validation to ensure your model is adding value

Andrey made special mention of some industry leaders that helped shape his modeling career naming 3 people in particular:

  • Dr. Andrei Borshchev CEO of the AnyLogic company - taught him to start with a very simple model first and then expand.

  • Dr. Alan Barnard, CEO of Goldratt Research Labs, helped shape his early career and he still remembers how Dr. Alan "bashed" one of his over-complex model and how it became a lifelong lesson to always make the model simple to understand. And of course, he still makes use of cumulative plots Dr. Alan showed him in his current projects!

  • Dr. Dennis Pegden, CEO of SIMIO - who back in 2009 did a presentation where he stated that simulation in itself is nothing without scheduling, the power lies in building a schedule and testing it with simulation. Only years, and many models, later did Andrey understand the power of this statement.

Quite fascinating is the Amalgama tech journey, where their knowledge and experiences were compiled, literally 🤓, into external Java libraries which they then used inside of AnyLogic. This allowed them to create more robust and faster models. But with new projects, comes new and more difficult challenges...

One of their projects required them to build a scheduler from scratch and integrate it with AnyLogic. Everybody knows scheduling problems are hard! If that wasn't enough, the guys at Amalgama then decided to make their own discrete event simulation engine and later build a complete simulation framework 💪. Later this year there will news about this framework, which is aimed at moderate to advanced Java developers. Maybe it will be the right tool for you... now or in the future, watch this space.

We also discussed how they used their new platform to create two very specific simulation platforms, PlantTwin and MineTwin, the latter for which we will be doing a future post.

If you are a professional simulation modeler or want to be one, Andrey has many years of experience to share. Please check the full interview and share your views in the comments in the post or the video.

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