A Component Based Heuristic Search Method with AdaptivePerturbations for Hospital Personnel Scheduling
Li, Jingpeng and Aickelin, Uwe and Burke, Edmund (2006) A Component Based Heuristic Search Method with AdaptivePerturbations for Hospital Personnel Scheduling. Technical Report NOTTCS-TR-2007-4 .
Nurse rostering is a complex scheduling problem that affects hospital personnel on a daily basis all over the world. This paper presents a new component-based approach with adaptive perturbations, for a nurse scheduling problem arising at a major UK hospital. The main idea behind this technique is to decompose a schedule into its components (i.e. the allocated shift pattern of each nurse), and then mimic a natural evolutionary process on these components to iteratively deliver better schedules. The worthiness of all components in the schedule has to be continuously demonstrated in order for them to remain there. This demonstration employs a dynamic evaluation function which evaluates how well each component contributes towards the final objective. Two perturbation steps are then applied: the first perturbation eliminates a number of components that are deemed not worthy to stay in the current schedule; the second perturbation may also throw out, with a low level of probability, some worthy components. The eliminated components are replenished with new ones using a set of constructive heuristics using local optimality criteria. Computational results using 52 data instances demonstrate the applicability of the proposed approach in solving real-world problems.
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