Over the last two decades, considerable research has been done in distributed operating systems, which can be attributed to faster processors and better communication technologies. A distributed operating system requires distributed algorithms to provide basic operating system functionality like mutual exclusion, deadlock detection, etc. A number of such algorithms have been proposed in the literature. Traditionally, these distributed algorithms have been presented in a theoretical way, with limited attempts to simulate actual working models. This paper discusses our experience in simulating distributed algorithms with the aid of some existing tools, including OPNET and Xplot. We discuss our efforts to define a basic model-based framework for rapid simulation and visualization, and illustrate how we used this framework to evaluate some classic algorithms. We have also shown how the performance of different algorithms can be compared based on some collected statistics. To keep the focus of this paper on the approach itself, and our experience with tool integration, we only discuss some relatively simple models. Yet, the approach can be applied to more complex algorithm specifications. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.