Optimisation and Illumination of a Real-world Workforce Scheduling and Routing Application via Map-Elites

29 May 2018  ·  Neil Urquhart, Emma Hart ·

Workforce Scheduling and Routing Problems (WSRP) are very common in many practical domains, and usually, have a number of objectives. Illumination algorithms such as Map-Elites (ME) have recently gained traction in application to {\em design} problems, in providing multiple diverse solutions as well as illuminating the solution space in terms of user-defined characteristics, but typically require significant computational effort to produce the solution archive... We investigate whether ME can provide an effective approach to solving WSRP, a {\em repetitive} problem in which solutions have to be produced quickly and often. The goals of the paper are two-fold. The first is to evaluate whether ME can provide solutions of competitive quality to an Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) in terms of a single objective function, and the second to examine its ability to provide a repertoire of solutions that maximise user choice. We find that very small computational budgets favour the EA in terms of quality, but ME outperforms the EA at larger budgets, provides a more diverse array of solutions, and lends insight to the end-user. read more

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