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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.

6, November 2012

A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON HEURISTIC PROCEDURES TO SOLVE BIN PACKING PROBLEMS

R. Yesodha1 and T. Amudha2
1 2

Department of Computer Applications, Bharathiar University, TamilNadu, India

yesodhamca@gmail.com

Department of Computer Applications, Bharathiar University, TamilNadu, India

amudhaswamynathan@buc.edu.in

ABSTRACT
Bin Packing Problem (BPP) is a Combinatorial Optimization problem, which is used to find the optimal object from a finite set of objects. The purpose of BPP is to pack the items with different weight into finite number of bins without exceeding its capacity. The main objective of this problem is to minimize the number of bins used and pack the items efficiently. This paper reviews a general idea of BPP and various algorithms which are used to solve the BPP. In this work, two heuristic algorithms First-Fit algorithm and Best-Fit algorithm are implemented and tested with well- known benchmark instances. This paper also discusses the algorithms which are inspired by Biology, such as Ant Colony Optimization algorithm (ACO), Cuckoo search and Genetic algorithm and their applications to Combinatorial Optimization problems.

KEYWORDS
Combinatorial Optimization, Bin packing, Nature inspired algorithms, First-Fit algorithm, Best-Fit algorithm.

1. INTRODUCTION
Combinatorial Optimization problem is used to find the best possible object from a finite set of objects to satisfy the desired objectives. Metaheuristic is a high level approach, which guides other heuristics to search for solutions in a possibly wide set of problem domains, with relatively few modifications and increase their performance [5]. Bio-inspired methods are becoming gradually more significant to face the complexity of today's demanding applications such as computer networks, security, robotics, bio medical engineering, control systems, parallel processing, data mining, power systems, electronics and mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and molecular biology and production engineering [3]. Bio-inspired computation methods have been applied to various Combinatorial Optimization Problems such as Assignment problem, Knapsack problem and Scheduling problems. Bio-inspired computing is a subset of Nature-inspired computing which is inspired from behavior of nature. Bin Packing Problem (BPP) is one of the NP-Hard Optimization problems. In the BPP it has two types of packing, fixed sized Bin packing problem and variable sized Bin packing problem. In the fixed sized, the bin capacity is fixed and it may also have different capacity. The purpose of fixed sized BPP is to
DOI:10.5121/ijfcst.2012.2603 37

International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

pack the number of items with different weight into a finite number of bins without omitting any items and to pack the items efficiently [15]. The objective of this problem is a) To minimize the number of bins without exceeding its capacity b) To minimize the wastage c) To minimize the execution time In the variable sized packing problem the capacity of the bins is not in fixed size. In the variable sized BPP problem objective is used to pack the items with above constraints and minimizing the cost associated with the chosen bins [11]. Some of the variants of BPP such as: one-dimensional Bin packing problem (1-BPP), two- dimensional Bin packing problem (2-BPP), threedimensional Bin packing problem (3-BPP) [15], and High Multiplicity Bin Packing Problems [28]. The formation of the paper is as follows: In section 2 BPP problem formulations was mentioned. In section 3 algorithms applied to BPP were explained and the real time applications are mentioned in section 4 and in section 5benchmark instances for Bin Packing problem solutions were discussed and in section 6 conclusions are presented.

2. PROBLEM FORMULATION OF BIN PACKING PROBLEM

The objective of this paper is to implement the First-Fit algorithm and Best-Fit algorithm for One Dimensional Bin Packing problem. The problem formulation of Bin Packing problem as follows Min: z y = Subject to constraints:

=1

With: yi= 1 if the bin iis used; else 0 xij= 1 if the item j is stocked in bin i. In the eq.1 the objective function is to minimize the total number of bins and pack all the items with identical capacity. The first constraint guarantees that the weights of items (Wi) filled in the bin j do not exceed the bin capacity. The second constraint ensures that each item is placed only in one bin [1].
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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

3. BIN PACKING PROBLEM ALGORITHMS

Bin Packing Problem is a NP- Complete problem (Garey & Johnson 1979) [38, 40]. There are various heuristic that have been developed to solve this problem. A metaheuristic is a set of algorithmic concepts that can be used to define other heuristic methods related to various optimization problems with relatively few modifications. The efficiency of metaheuristic algorithms can be attributed to the reality that they mimic the best features from nature, especially the selection of the ttest in biological systems, which have evolved by natural selection over millions of years [2]. This section explained about basic heuristics for one dimensional BPP such as First-Fit, Next-Fit, Best-Fit and Nature Inspired Algorithms such as Ant Colony Optimization algorithm (ACO), Cuckoo search and Genetic algorithm.

3.1 FIRST-FIT ALGORITHM

In the First-Fit Algorithm (FF), the items should be allocated into the bin in a given order. First place each item in the first available bin, place the next item into the lowest numbered bin in which it fits. If the bin is completely full, close the bin permanently. If the bin does not have an enough space to fit the items, open a new bin and allocate the items [34, 35, 39]. The first fit algorithm provides a fast but often provides no optimal solution, involving placing each item into the first bin in which it will fit. It requires O(NlogN) time, where n is the number of items to be packed [39, 40].

3.2 NEXT-FIT ALGORITHM

In Next-Fit Algorithm (NF),the items should be allocated into the bin in a given order.NF checks whether there is a space in a current bin, if there is a space, allocate the next item into the current bin. If it does not fit, close that bin and open a new bin and allocate the items. Next-Fit algorithm is quicker than the First Fit algorithm but it uses more bins. NF requires O(N) time [38-40 ].

3.3 BEST-FIT ALGORITHM

In Best-Fit Algorithm (BF), the items should be allocated into the bin in a given order. Place the next item into that bin which will leave the smallest amount of waste space left over after the item is placed in the bin. If it does not fit in any bin, open a new bin and place the item. BF places the items in the tightest spot among all the bins. It performs better for random inputs and needs O(NlogN) time [39, 40].

3.4 ANT COLONY OPTIMIZATION ALGORITHM

ACO is one of the most successful Bio-inspired metaheuristics. It was introduced by Marco Dorigo in 1992 [30]. The double-bridge experiment [17] was one of the famous experiments performed by Jean-Louis Deneubourg and colleague. The goal of this experimentation is to observe the ensuing behavior of the ant colony. ACO is inspired by the behavior of ants which is used to find the shortest path from nest to food source. During the foraging process ants move
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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

randomly from their nest to food source, during that period ant leaves a chemical substance called pheromone. This pheromone path helps other ants to reach the food source and this repeating process produces a positive feedback and makes a pheromone trail [2, 16, 17, 30]. Due to this process all the ants will choose the shortest path, which contains higher pheromone strength than the longer one. In the longer path the pheromone strength gets reduced and start evaporates because of no ants following the longer path. The indirect communication between the ants with the help of pheromone trials is known as stigmergy. The ACO algorithm is basically interaction of three actions: [23, 26] a) ConstructAntsSolutions b) UpdatePheromones c) DeamonActions In ACO, a number of artificial ants construct solutions to an optimization problem and exchange the information on their quality by a communication scheme. The core inspiration extracted from biological studies about ants was searching the optimal solution of Combinatorial Optimization problems. Many algorithmic methods have been motivated by behaviors of real ants. Ant colony optimization is one of the most successful metaheuristic [17]. ACO algorithm has been used to solve Bin Packing problem and proposed various approaches. ACO algorithm has been applied to several applications; few are listed out in section 4.

3.5 CUCKOO SEARCH ALGORITHM

Cuckoo search is one of the most recent developed Bio-inspired algorithms. It was developed by Xin-she Yang and Suash Deb in 2009 [1]. It is based on the routine life of cuckoo bird. Cuckoo search algorithm is inspired by the obligate brood parasitism of some cuckoo species by laying their eggs in the nests of other host birds. The most important feature of cuckoo is aggressive reproduction strategy. There are three fundamental types of brood parasitism: a) Intraspecific brood parasitism b) Cooperative breeding c) Nest takeover Some host birds do not act friendly against intruders. In such situation host bird will throw those alien eggs away. In other situations, more friendly hosts will simply abandon its nest and build a new nest in a different place. In general, cuckoo`s eggs hatch earlier than their host eggs. As soon as the cuckoo chicks have hatched, they lift any other eggs they find in the nest onto their backs and then throw them overboard. Cuckoo search idealized such breeding behavior, and thus can be applied for various optimization problems [1, 36]. Cuckoo search is based on three idealized rules a) Each cuckoo lays single egg at a time and dumps its eggs in a randomly chosen nest. b) The best nests with high quality of eggs will carry over to the next generations. c) The number of existing host nests is fixed, and a host can find out an alien egg with a probability Pd. In this case, the host bird can either throw the egg away or abandon the nest, and build a new nest in a new location [1, 18].
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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

Cuckoo search algorithm has been applied to solve Bin Packing problem. Cuckoo search was applied to various optimization problems, few applications are listed out in section 4.

3.6 GENETIC ALGORITHM

Genetic Algorithms (GA) are search algorithms that are based on concepts of natural selection and natural genetics. It is inspired by Darwinian principle. It was developed by Prof. John Holland in 1960 [6, 20]. GA is a metaheuristic which applies Bio-inspired techniques such as genetic inheritance, natural selection, mutation, and sexual reproduction. Genetic algorithms are popular algorithm across a large and growing number of disciplines. Genetic algorithm is an evolutionary process used to generate populations based on chromosomes. The simplest structure of GA to create a new population involves three types of operators: a) Selection b) Crossover c) Mutation To generate an initial population first choose pairs for mating, second, perform cross-over to generate off-springs, third evaluate the fitness of new off-springs and finally generate a new population [4,19]. Selection is the first operator applied on the population. It makes many copies and selects the better parents in a new population and form a mating pool. In the crossover operation, recombination process takes place to get better two parents [19, 24]. It creates different individuals in the successive generations by combining from two individuals of the previous generation. Mutation is the process of randomly disturbing genetic information. Mutation may cause the chromosomes of individuals to be different from those of their parent individuals [6, 20, 31]. Genetic algorithm has been applied to Bin Packing problem and also solved many combinatorial optimization problems. In section 4 listed out few applications related to genetic algorithm.

4. REAL TIME APPLICATIONS

Bio-inspired computing is recently focused on computer science. Bio-inspired methods are currently applied to large-scale applications. Bio-inspired methods are becoming very promising in various fields [3]. In this section few applications has been listed out for BPP and for Bioinspired algorithms. Bio-inspired algorithms such as Ant Colony Optimization algorithm, Cuckoo search algorithm and Genetic algorithm has been successfully applied to Bin Packing problem. Table 1 shows related applications for Bin Packing problem.

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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

5. BIN PACKING SOLUTIONS

This section evaluates the result of the First-Fit and Best-Fit algorithm for Bin Packing problem. The test instances are taken from the OR-Library [37]. There are three types of Benchmark instances of Bin Packing problem which are classified into problem classes, hard, medium and easy. In the hard class, 10 instances were taken from OR Library and the results obtained were near optimal solutions. In the medium class, 11 instances were taken. Out of 11, Best-Fit algorithm was found to be capable of producing optimal solutions for 7 instances. For the remaining 4 instances, near optimal solutions were obtained. In the easy class, 15 instances were taken. Out of 15, Best-Fit algorithm was found to be capable of producing optimal solutions for 12 instances. For the remaining 3 instances, near optimal solutions were obtained. Best-Fit algorithm is able to find the best solution in a minimum time when compared to First-Fit algorithm for all the problem cases considered in this paper. Table 2 shows the result of First-Fit and Best-Fit algorithm for hard class instances and Figure 1 and 2 shows the graphical representation for Table 2. Table 3 presents the result of First-Fit and Best-Fit algorithm for medium class instances and Figure 3 and 4 shows the graphical representation for Table 3. Table 4 gives the result of First-Fit and Best-Fit algorithm for easy class instances and Figure 5 and 6 shows the graphical representation for Table 4. where N represents number of items, C represents bin capacity.

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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

Table 2: Comparative results for BPP hard instances Execution Time (msec) First-Fit Best-Fit 210 150 330 150 340 150 170 150 210 140 310 143 220 140 350 150 400 150 210 150

Instance name HARD1 HARD2 HARD3 HARD4 HARD5 HARD6 HARD7 HARD8 HARD9 HARD0

N 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200

C 100000 100000 100000 100000 100000 100000 100000 100000 100000 100000

Optimal 57 56 55 57 56 57 55 57 56 56

No. of Bins used First-Fit 66 66 64 65 65 65 63 66 65 65 Best-Fit 60 60 59 60 59 60 59 60 60 59

68 66 64 62 60 58 56 54 52 50 48

INSTANCE NAME

Figure1. Number of bins used for Hard class instances

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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

450 400
EXECUTION TIME (msec)

350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 First-Fit Best-Fit

INSTANCE NAME

Figure2. Execution Time for Hard class instances Table: 3 Comparative results for BPP medium instances Execution Time

Instance name N1W1B1R0 N1W4B1R8 N1W1B2R8 N1W1B3R0 N1W1B3R7 N1W3B2R0 N1W3B3R4 N2W4B2R1 N3W4B3R0 N4W4B3R4 N4W4B3R9

No. of Bins used N C Optimal First-Fit 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 100 200 500 500 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 1000 18 6 16 17 18 8 8 11 24 55 56 21 6 19 22 26 8 8 12 26 60 60 Best-Fit 20 6 17 17 19 8 8 11 24 56 56

(msec)
First-Fit 80 40 80 80 80 50 30 59 120 230 380 Best-Fit 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 20 40 160 150

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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

70 60
NUMBER OF BINS USED

50 40 30 20 10 0 Optimal First-Fit Best-Fit

INSTANCE NAME

Figure3. Number of bins used for Medium class instances 400 350
EXECUTION TIME (msec)

INSTANCE NAME

Figure4. Execution Time for Medium class instances

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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

Table: 4 Comparative results for BPP easy instances

Instance name N1C1W1_A N1C1W1_B N1C1W1_C N1C1W1_N N1C2W1_H N1C3W1_F N2C1W1_A N2C1W1_C N2C2W1_J N2C3W1_A N3C1W4_S N3W1C1_A N3C1W1_B N4C1W1_L N4C1W1_M

Optimal N 50 50 50 50 50 50 100 100 100 100 200 200 200 500 500 C 100 100 100 100 120 150 100 100 120 150 100 100 100 100 100 25 31 20 25 23 20 48 46 42 35 145 105 104 258 246

No. of Bins used FirstFit 30 35 26 30 30 29 61 59 58 50 169 131 139 329 310 Best-Fit 25 31 21 26 23 20 48 46 42 35 145 106 104 258 246

Execution Time (msec) First-Fit 109 124 63 94 140 78 203 141 109 93 577 188 499 967 951 Best-Fit 15 31 15 15 15 15 31 31 31 31 125 62 109 265 265

350
NUMBER OF BINS USED

INSTANCE NAME

Figure5. Number of bins used for Easy class instances

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International Journal in Foundations of Computer Science & Technology (IJFCST), Vol. 2, No.6, November 2012

1200
EXECUTION TIME (msec)

INSTANCE NAME

Figure6. Execution Time for Easy class instances

6. CONCLUSION
This paper gives a general idea about Bin Packing problem and basic heuristics First-Fit, Next-Fit and Best-Fit. Bio-inspired algorithms such as Ant Colony Optimization algorithm (ACO), Cuckoo search and Genetic algorithm which are used to solve the BPP and real time applications for BPP are also discussed. The purpose of BPP is to pack the items with different weight into finite number of bins without exceeding its capacity. The objective of this problem is to minimize the number of bins and minimize the time and pack the items efficiently. The main purpose of this paper is to compare the performance of First-Fit and Best-Fit algorithm in solving BPP and the results have shown that Best-Fit algorithm performs better than First-Fit algorithm. Three types of BPP problem classes have been used to test the efficiency of the algorithms. The Best-Fit algorithm results gave efficient result in terms of number of bins used, bin space wastage and execution time when compared to First-Fit algorithm. To further improve the results in terms of the objective functions, Bio-Inspired algorithmic techniques can be suitably used. With the ability to solve real time as well as challenging problems in an effective manner, Bio-inspired methods has come up as a new approach in computing. As a future research work, it is planned to apply some of the best performing bio-inspired metaheuristics for BPP and to analyze their problem solving effectiveness.

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AUTHORS
Ms. R.Yesodha received her BCA Degree in Computer Applications from PSG College of Arts and Science in 2008, MCA Degree in Computer Applications from Karunya University in 2011 and she is currently pursuing her M.Phil at Bharathiar University in the area of Bio-Inspired Computing. Her area of interest includes Bio-inspired computing and Optimization problems. Mrs. T.Amudha received her B.Sc Degree in Physics, Masters Degree (MCA) in Computer Applications and M.Phil in Computer Science in 1995, 1999, and 2003 respectively, from Bharathidasan University, India. She has qualified UGC-NET for Lectureship in 2003 and she is currently pursuing her doctoral research at Bharathiar University. She is currently working as Asst. Professor in the Department of Computer Applications, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. She has 13 years of academic experience. She has more than 25 research publications for her credit in International/ National Journals & Conferences. Her area of interest includes Software Agents, Bio-inspired computing and Grid computing. She is a member of IEEE, CSI, IAENG professional societies.

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