UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Costis Maglaras, Columbia, to host a seminar discussing “Observational Learning and Abandonment in Congested Systems”.
Demand systems used in operations management and service operations settings often assume that system parameters that may affect user decisions, e.g., to join a system or purchase a service, are known or accurately communicated to the market. In several practical settings this need not be the case, but users may still form estimates of these system parameters through their own observations or experiences in the system. In this talk, I will study the effect of observational learning on user behavior and equilibrium system performance in the context of a queueing model. Specifically, I analyze a congested service system in which delay-sensitive customers have no a priori knowledge of the service rate, but instead join the system and observe their progress through the queue in order to learn the system’s service rate, estimate remaining waiting times, and make abandonment decisions. (Joint work with John Yao and Assaf Zeevi.)