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Since the Erlang random variable is the sum of exponential random variables, one can consider going through a series of phases (one for each exponential random variable) before realizing the complete Erlangian random variable. Thus, the Erlang distribution is sometimes called a phase-type distribution. A more general formulation of the phase-type idea allows the movement through the phases to be governed by a Markov chain that permits movement back and forth between the interior phases, with the final stage being an absorbing barrier. Erlang distribution; Queueing theory.