Pedro Arantes
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Little's Law

The law states that average queue time will equal the average queue size divided by the average processing rate.
#john-d-c-little
Zettelkasten, December 06, 2021
## Notes - The law states that average queue time will equal the average queue size divided by the average processing rate. - It also states that the long-term average number $L$ of work in a system equals the long-term average effective arrival rate $\lambda$ multiplied by the average time $W$ that the work stays in the system. $$ L = \lambda W $$ - MIT professor John D. C. Little proved it in 1961. - This formula is robust; it applies to virtually all queues disciplines, arrival rates, and departure processes ($W_Q$ is the queue time for an average job, $L_Q$ number of jobs in a queue, $\lambda$ average processing rate, $W_S$ is the system time for an average job, $L_S$ number of jobs in the system). $$ W_Q = \frac{L_Q}{\lambda} \quad \text{or} \quad W_S = \frac{L_S}{\lambda}, $$ - You can use the formula for the whole system instead of just for a queue. This use is helpful when you have trouble distinguishing which items are in the queue and which ones are in service. ### Examples Assume customers arrive at a rate of 10 per hour in a store and stay 0.5 hours on average. The average number of customers in the store is $L = 10 * 0.5 = 5$. ## References - [The Principles of Product Development Flow](/books/the-principles-of-product-development-flow#q12-little-s-formula-wait-time-queue-size-processing-rate) - [Wikipedia. Little's law](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little%27s_law) ## Backlinks - [Cycle Time](/zettel/cycle-time)
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