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Contents

lists

available

at

Computers

& Industrial Engineering

journalhomepage:

an improved ant colony optimization method 1

Ba-Yi Cheng a,b, Joseph Y.-T. Leung a,b,c,, Kai Li a,b

a

School of Management, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, PR China b Key Laboratory of Process Optimization and

Intelligent Decision-making, Ministry of Education, Hefei 230009, PR China c Department of Computer Science, New Jersey Institute

of Technology, Newark, NJ 07012, USA

a r t i c l ei n f o

Article history:

Received 17 June 2014

Received in revised form 12 February

2015

Accepted 22 February 2015

Available online 2 March 2015

Keywords:

Scheduling

Production

Distribution

Ant colony optimization

Heuristics

abstract

In this paper, we consider an integrated scheduling problem of production and distribution for

manufacturers. In the production part, the batch-processing machines have fixed capacity and the jobs have

arbitrary sizes and processing times. Jobs in a batch can be processed together, provided that the total size

of the jobs in the batch does not exceed the machine capacity. The processing time of a batch is the largest

processing time of all the jobs in the batch. In the distribution part, the vehicles have identical transport

capacity and all the deliveries are done by a third-party logistic (3PL) provider. The objective is to

minimize the total cost of production and distribution for the manufacturer. Since the problem is NP-hard

in the strong sense, we propose an improved ant colony optimization method to solve the production part,

and a heuristic method for the distribution part. We derive a lower bound for the optimal total cost. We

generate a large number of random data to test the performance of the proposed heuristic versus the lower

bound. Our results show that the performance of the heuristic is excellent while the running time is no

more than five seconds for 200 jobs.

interest among researchers. In contrast to classical scheduling,

this type of scheduling problem is concerned with not only the

porcelain in a calcinatory. The calcinatory is heated to a very

high temperature that exceeds 1800 degrees Fahrenheit most of

the time. The calcinatory step often takes more than one day.

To keep a high temperature, a large amount of energy is

parts in the supply chain. The objective of integrated

scheduling is to obtain an overall optimization for the supply

delivered to the customers. The porcelain products have

different sizes and the calcinatory has a fixed capacity. Thus, it

can provide an effective guidance for operations management.

so that they are heated together, provided that the total size of

the porcelain products does not exceed the capacity of the

calcinatory. The processing time of a batch is the largest

problems involving production and distribution. In the

vehicle has a fixed capacity. To obtain a low distribution cost, it is desirable to minimize the number of deliveries. This is especially true when the manufacturer

hires a third-party logistic (3PL) provider to deliver the products, since the 3PL provider will charge the manufacturer an amount proportional to the number of

deliveries. Clearly, the distribution schedule is influenced by the production

production part, we consider manufacturers having batchprocessing time of all the jobs in the batch. Clearly, minimizing

processing machines and jobs having arbitrary sizes and

the makespan will minimize the amount of energy used.

processing times. This production mode is widely used in many

After the porcelain products have been made, they need to be

industries such as the porcelain manufacturing industry, semishipped to the customers. There are a number of vehicles and each

conductor manufacturing industry (Jula & Leachman, 2010),

plan. Therefore, an integrated scheduling method is needed to

food processing industry (Melouk, Demodaran, & Chang,

achieve a total optimization of production and distribution.

2004), and so on. Take the porcelain manufacturing industry

for example (Carter & Norton, 2013). The production of

porcelain products consists of two steps, where the first step is

to make a standard mode using clay and other specific

in semi-conductor industry (Uzsoy, 1994). In the final testing

stage, integrated circuits are subject to burn-in operation that

applies thermal stress to the circuits. Those circuits that pass the

1 This manuscript was processed by Area Editor Maged M. Dessouky. Corresponding author at: Department of Computer Science, New Jersey Institute of

Technology, Newark, NJ 07012, USA. Tel.: +1 973 596 3387; fax: +1 973 596 5777. E-mail address: leung@oak.njit.edu (J.Y.-T. Leung).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cie.2015.02.017 0360-8352/ 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

burn-in test will be delivered to the customers, while those that are

found to be defective will be discarded. The circuits are put on the

boards which will then be put into an oven. The oven has a fixed

capacity. Each circuit has a size, e.g., several boards. Therefore,

several circuits can be put into the oven at the same time, provided

that the total size of the circuits does not exceed the capacity of

the oven. Since the processing time of the burn-in operation is

much longer than other operations (e.g., 120 h versus 45 h), the

burnin operation is often the bottleneck in the manufacturing

process. Minimizing the makespan will minimize the energy used

and maximize the throughput of the system. Once the circuits pass

the burn-in operation, they will be shipped to the customers.

Again, minimizing the number of deliveries will save money for

the manufacturer.

The purpose of this paper is to propose a method to tackle this

problem. We will develop an improved ant colony optimization

method to batch the jobs in the production part. We then employ

the First-Fit-Decreasing (FFD) rule used in the bin-packing

problem to group the jobs into delivery runs. Our objective is to

minimize the sum of the production and delivery costs.

Integrated scheduling includes the system of supplier,

manufacturer and customers. As such, it is a three-stage problem

(Hall & Potts, 2003). Selvarajah and Steiner (2009) proposed a 3 /

2 approximation algorithm to minimize delivery and inventory

holding costs. Sawik (2009) extended the problem to a long-term

product case. Yeung, Choi, and Cheng (2011) and Osman and

Demirli (2012) considered the three-stage problem with time

windows and synchronized replenishment, respectively. Yimer and

Demirli (2010) proposed a division technique for the problem. The

problem was divided into two phases, i.e., the manufacturing and

the delivery phase, and a genetic algorithm was used to solve it.

Two-stage integrated scheduling problems consist of two types,

where one type is concerned with the supplier and manufacturer

and the other type is concerned with the manufacturer and

customers. Chen and Vairaktarakis (2005) showed that most of the

two-stage problems are also NP-hard. Chen and Hall (2007)

investigated the conflict between the optimal schedules of the

supplier and the manufacturer. They proposed a cooperation

mechanism for the two sides. Agnetis, Hall, and Pacciarelli (2006)

proposed an interchange cost that is incurred when the orders of

jobs are different in the optimal schedules of the two sides. They

also provided a cooperation scheme. Torabi, Ghomi, and Karimi

(2006) considered the objective of minimizing the average of

holding setup and delivery costs per unit time of the supply chain

and they designed an intelligent algorithm. The other kind of twostage problem is the scheduling between the manufacturer and its

customers. Agnetis, Aloulou, and Fu (2014) considered the

coordination of production and interstage batch delivery using a

third-party logistic (3PL) provider. Algorithms for solving the

problem include approximation algorithms (Averbakh & Xue,

2007) and intelligent algorithms (Naso, Surico, Turchaiano, &

Kaymak, 2007; Zegordi, Abadi, & Nia, 2007). Other works

stressing the two-stage problems between the manufacturer and

customers include the joint scheduling of time-sensitive products

(Chen & Pundoor, 2006) and capacity allocation (Hall & Liu,

2010). Chen (2010) gave an excellent survey of integrated

production and outbound distribution scheduling.

Current research on joint scheduling focuses on the classical

production model (Pinedo (2002)), in which a machine processes

one job at a time. However, little research has been done on the

production model with batch-processing machines and

arbitrarysize jobs. In contrast to the classical production model,

this type of production is more complex to solve. Uzsoy (1994)

introduced several heuristics for the single-machine scheduling

problem and approximation ratios were analyzed by Zhang, Cai,

Lee, and Wong (2001). Indeed, the problems addressed in Uzsoy

(1994) , Zhang et al. (2001) are identical to the problem addressed

218

in this paper, except that they did not consider the delivery part.

Approximation algorithms with better performances were

proposed to solve single-machine problems (see Kashan, Karimi,

& Ghomi, 2009; Li, Li, Wang, & Liu, 2005) and multi-machine

problems (Cheng, Yang, & Ma, 2012; Cheng, Yang, Hu, & Li,

2014). Jula and Leachman (2010) provided a greedy heuristic

method and Parsa, Karimi, and Kashan (2010) provided a branch

and price algorithm. Intelligent algorithms were also applied to

solve the problem including genetic algorithms (Sevaux & Peres,

2003 ; Koh, Koo, Kim, & Hur, 2005; Demodaran, Manjeshwar, &

Srihari, 2006; Kashan, Karimi, & Jenabi, 2008), simulated

annealing (Melouk et al., 2004) and ant colony optimization

(Cheng, Wang, Yang, & Hu, 2013).

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In Section 2,

we define the problem and provide a lower bound for the

optimal solution. In Section 3, we design an improved ant

colony optimization (IACO) method and show the detailed

implementation. Then we report the experimental results in

Section 4, where 36 levels of instances are tested to show the

performance of the algorithm. In Section 5, we conclude this

paper and give directions for future research.

The integrated scheduling problem can be defined as

follows. There are n jobs to be processed and delivered to the

customer. The job set is J f1; 2;...; ng. The size of job j is s j

and its processing time is t j. Jobs are grouped into batches to be

processed on a batch-processing machine. The capacity of the

machine is B; i.e., jobs can be processed together provided that

the total size is no more than B. The processing of a batch b k

cannot be interrupted until all the jobs in it are completed. The

processing time of bk, denoted by Tk, is the longest processing

time among all the jobs in bk. The completion time of bk is

denoted by Ck. We assume that C0 0. Note that some batches

may be empty; i.e., there is no job in the batch. If batch b k is an

empty batch, then its processing time Tk is zero. We assume

that T0 0. The number of non-empty batches is denoted by

K. Given a set of batches, the production cost, PC, is a linear

function of its processing time; i.e.,

Xn

PC

Tk:

k1

customers. For simplicity, we assume that the size of a job on

the production side is the same as its size on the distribution

part. The vehicles have a common capacity G; i.e., products

can be delivered in one run provided that the total size of all

the products in the delivery run does not exceed G. The

delivery set is denoted by

D fd1d2;...; dng, where dl is the l-th delivery run. Note that

some delivery runs may be empty; i.e., there is no job in the

delivery run. The number of non-empty delivery runs is

denoted by L. The distribution cost, DC, is a linear function of

L since each delivery has a similar cost in practice. That is,

DC dL;

where d > 0. The objective is to minimize the total cost of

production and distribution; i.e.,

TC PC DC:

We first define four variables that will be used in the following

integer program. For all 1 6 k; l 6 n; wk 1 if bk is created,

otherwise wk 0; yl 1 if dl is created, otherwise yl 0. For

all 1 6 j 6 n; xjk 1 if job j is in bk, otherwise xjk 0; zjl 1

xj0 0. We use P to represent the integrated scheduling

problem under investigation. The integer program of P is

defined as follows.

Minimize TC PC DC

Subject to Tk maxftjjxjk 1g k 1;...;n

Ck Ck1 Tk

k 1;...;n

Xn xjk 1 j 1;...;n

k1

Xn xjksj 6 B

1;...;n

j1

xjk 6 wk

j 1;...;n; k 1;...;n

Xn zjl 1 j 1;...;n

l1

Xn

zjlsj 6 G

l 1;...;n

j1

j 1;...;n; l 1;...;n

zjl 6 yl

Xn

L

219

Since P is NP-hard in the strong sense, it is computationally

infeasible to obtain optimal solutions. Therefore, we design a

heuristic to tackle this problem. In order to test the performance of

our heuristic, we need a lower bound of the optimal solution

against which we compare our heuristic. Consider a relaxation of

the problem P where each job j with size s j is split into sj unit-size

jobs. Each unit-size job has a processing time t j, the same as job j.

After the relaxation, we can obtain a lower bound, LB, by the

following rule R. Rule R

Step 1. Sort the unit-size jobs in non-increasing order of their

processing times.

Step 2. Assign the first B jobs to the first batch, the next B jobs to

the second batch, and so on, until all jobs have been assigned. Let

fb01; b02;...; b0Kg be the batch set obtained in this process. Step 3.

Calculate T0 k using formula (2).

Step 4. In the distribution part, we can use the same relaxation and

P

get a lower bound of L as L0 d nj1sj=Ge.

Step 5. Compute LB P Kk1T0k dd

Pn

s =Ge.

j 1 j

yl

l1

Xn

K

wk

k1

PC

Xn

Tk

k1

DC dL d > 0

C0 T0 w0 xj0 0

wk;yl;xjk;zjl 2 f0;1g for all j;k;l

Objective (1) represents the total cost of production and

distribution which are shown in (12) and (13), respectively.

Constraint (2) gives the processing time of a batch. Constraints

(2) and (3) together ensure that the processing of a batch is

non-preemptive. Constraint (4) guarantees that each job is in

exactly one batch. Constraint (5) ensures that the total size of

all the jobs in a batch does not exceed the machine capacity B.

Constraint (6) ensures that if xjk 1 for some j, then wk must

also be equal to 1. Constraint (7) ensures that each job is in

exactly one delivery. Constraint (8) guarantees that the total

size of all the products in a delivery run does not exceed the

vehicle capacity G. Constraint (9) ensures that if zjl 1 for

some j, then yl must also be equal to 1. Eq. (10) gives the

number of non-empty delivery runs, while Eq. (11) gives the

number of non-empty batches. Constraint (15) indicates that

the four decision variables are binary variables.

We now determine the computational complexity of P. We

will show that bin-packing is actually a special case of P. Since

binpacking is NP-hard in the strong sense, P must also be NPhard in the strong sense. Consider a special case of P, where all

jobs have unit processing time and the machine capacity is

identical to the vehicle capacity; i.e., B G. Then we can

view each batch as a bin with bin capacity B. Let K be the

minimum number of batches (or bins). The optimal total cost

will be TC 1 dK. Since d is a constant, the optimal

total cost is a linear function of the minimum number of

batches (or bins) formed. Therefore, P becomes a binpacking

problem. Hence we have the following proposition.

Proposition 1. P is NP-hard in the strong sense even when all

jobs have identical processing times.

Proposition 2. LB P Kk1T0k dd

of the optimal total cost for P.

Pn

j1 j

time tj into sj jobs with unit-size and processing time tj. Clearly,

this transformed instance is a relaxation of the original problem P.

Thus, an optimal total cost of this transformed instance is a lower

bound of the optimal total cost for P. We now determine the

optimal total cost of this transformed instance.

Since the jobs in the transformed instance have unit-size, the

P

the production part, the minimum number of batches is obtained

by

P

time of a batch is determined by the largest processing time of all

the jobs in the batch, it is better to group the B jobs with the

largest processing time into a single batch. Steps 1 and 2 of Rule

R accomplish this. Thus, the minimum production cost is P Kk1

T0k. Therefore, LB P Kk1T0k dd

total cost of the transformed instance. .

Pn

j1 j

against the lower bound. We compare the solutions obtained by

IACO against LB to show the effectiveness of our heuristic.

3. Improved ant colony optimization

Ant colony optimization (ACO) (Dorigo, Maniezzo, &

Colorni, 1996) is an intelligent algorithm inspired by the behavior

of ants searching for food in nature. ACO has been applied to

solve combinatorial optimization problems such as the Travelling

Salesman Problem (Mavrovouniotis & Yang, 2013), Vehicle

Routing Problem (Aalseiro, Loiseau, & Ramonet, 2011; Gajpal &

Abad, 2009) and Flowshop Scheduling Problem (Neto & Filho,

2011).

In this section, we propose an improved ant colony

optimization (IACO) method to minimize the total cost of the

integrated scheduling problem. First, a batch list is obtained based

on the sizes of the jobs. Then a new candidate list is designed to

solutions are obtained in the production part. A heuristic is

proposed to obtain an effective distribution schedule.

3.1. Coding

M artificial ants are used to search solutions. Job j is

represented by a node j and the path from i to j is represented as i !

j. In each iteration, ants find new paths by the pheromone and

heuristic value of the paths. If a path is selected by an ant, the ant

will reinforce the pheromone on the path. The pheromone

evaporates with a constant speed. The maximum number of

iterations is represented by N max; i.e., after Nmax iterations, a

feasible production schedule is obtained.

The parameters of IACO is as follows.

M:

m:

sij:

number of ants

m-th ant

pheromone density on the path i ! j

minimum density of pheromone

maximum density of pheromone

probability of assigning job i into bk

heuristic value of assigning job i into bk

evaporation rate of pheromone

N-th iteration

maximum number of iterations

a feasible solution for P

the best solution in one iteration

the best solution among all the iterations

smin:

smax:

hik:

gik:

q:

N:

Nmax:

p:

plb:

pgb:

Dsij:

X k:

candidate list of batch bk

processed. Since K and the index of the current batch cannot be

determined before the end of IACO, we use h ik to denote the

affinity that job i is associated with bk, where hik is defined as:

P sij

j2bk

hik

; 16 jbkj

where jbkj is the number of jobs that have been assigned to b k. (We

assume that bk is non-empty when we compute hik.) In a schedule,

we can view each batch as a rectangle whose length is the

processing time of the batch and whose width is the machine

capacity B. A job in a batch occupies a rectangle whose length is

its processing time and whose width is its size. The unoccupied

area in the batch is the wasted space of the batch. Clearly,

minimizing the total wasted space of all the batches will minimize

the makespan. It is easy to see that smaller difference in

processing times between the jobs in a batch will minimize the

wasted space of the batch. Therefore, we define the heuristic value

of assigning job i to bk as:

gik

1 jTk tij;

17

there are a large number of jobs, the candidate list may lead to a

long running time for ACO. In practice, jobs often have the same

size. So, we classify jobs with the same size as the same type. This

candidate list can reduce the running time and the number of types

is no more than n. In those instances where many jobs have the

same size, the efficiency is much better than traditional ACO.

Proposition 3. If we always choose the longest job among jobs

with the same size to join the current batch, it has a tendency of

lowering the makespan of the schedule.

Proof. Consider a job as a rectangle whose length and width

are respectively t j and sj. The processing of a batch is also a

rectangle and the length and width are respectively T k and B.

Then in a batch, denote the area that has not been covered by

jobs as idle space (IS k). For a feasible solution, we have

XK Xn

IS B

Tk

sjtj;

k1

j1

P

K

which is the makespan of the schedule. Now, if we always

choose the longest job among jobs with the same size to join

the current batch, it will lower IS and hence P Kk1Tk.

Proposition 4. When selecting jobs from the candidate list, if i

and j satisfies si < sj and siti > sjtj, then selecting i to add to the

current batch is better than selecting j.

Proof. Using the rectangles in the proof of Proposition 3, we

see that i can make a smaller ISk since si < sj and siti > sjtj.

Therefore, selecting i is better.

Using the above propositions, we create candidate lists using

the following rule.

Candidate List Rule

Step 1. Classify jobs into different types by their sizes. Select

the jobs with the longest processing time in each type

and add to the candidate list. When job j is put into a

batch from the candidate list, update the candidate list

as Steps 2 4.

Step 2. Find the type to which j belongs. If all the jobs in this

type have been assigned, delete j from the candidate

list and go to Step 4. Otherwise, go to Step 3.

Step 3. Put the job with the longest processing time into the

candidate list. Go to Step 4.

Step 4. Calculate the total size of jobs in the current batch and

delete jobs that have a size larger than the remaining

machine capacity. h

Candidate list is the set of jobs that can be selected and added

to the current batch. In traditional ACO, any job can be selected to

heuristic information. For ant m, the probability of choosing i

from candidate list Xk of bk is

smaller. Since the problem is easier to solve, we can afford a

smaller interval. Conversely, if e is large, then

smaller value, and hence the interval

haikgb ik

if i 2 X k 18

easy cases versus hard cases.

Pik

:

221

smin is

chosen to adapt to

0 otherwise

information, respectively.

excessive accumulation. In order to improve the convergence

rate, we use a rotation method to reinforce the pheromone of

customers by vehicles whose transport capacities are G.

Completed jobs are distributed by the following algorithm,

which is primarily the FirstFit-Decreasing heuristic used in the

bin-packing problem. Distribution Algorithm A1

assignments where jobs i and j are put in the same batch. The

updating rule of pheromone is

sizes. Jobs with the same size are ordered arbitrarily.

Put all the jobs in the candidate list.

reinforcement for the global best or local best solution and is

defined as

( fbest1

Dsij

0

Step 2. Put the first job in the candidate list into the first

delivery d1.

Step 3. Take the next job in the candidate list and put it into the

lowest indexed delivery dl for which the job fits. If no

delivery can accommodate this job, put it in a new

delivery.

20

otherwise

Step 4. Repeat Step 3 until all jobs in the candidate list have

been assigned.

Output

the

distribution

schedule as

solution.

If only the pheromone of the global best solution is

reinforced, then ants will concentrate on the solution and it

often leads to an immature convergence. However, the local

best solution,

plb,

more solutions. In IACO, a rotation reinforcement method is

designed; i.e., after the Nth iteration (N kk; 1 6k6 Nmax), the

the pheromone on paths of pgb is increased. Here k is a constant

pheromone on paths of

Furthermore, in order to avoid a large distance between the

pheromone of best solution and other solutions, pheromone

density is restricted in the interval smin;smax; i.e., when

pheromone density becomes more than

smax,

it is changed to

changed to smin.

The value of smax is defined as

Proposition 5. The running time of algorithm A1 is On log n. It

generates a feasible distribution schedule for which the

distribution cost is no more than 2 DC, where DC is the optimal

distribution cost.

Proof. To obtain the time complexity, we analyze the four steps of

algorithm A1. Step 1 takes On log n time. Step 2 takes constant

time. In Step 3 we need to find the first delivery for which the jobs

fit. If we maintain all non-empty deliveries as a heap, then Step 3

takes Olog n time. Step 4 repeats Step 3 n times. Therefore, the

total time taken in Step 3 is On log n. Hence, the overall time

complexity of algorithm A1 is On log n.

Now we analyze the performance of algorithm A 1. Let

p be an

We have

Xn

23

sj 6 G L ;

j1

smax

; 21 1 qfpgb

objective value of the global best solution.

22

set as c 0:05. Note that if e is small, then the problem is

easier to solve, and if e is large, then the problem is harder to

solve. From Eq. (22), we see that if e is small, then

24

j2dh

ordered pairs g; h from the set fg; hjg h K 1g and

by (24), we have

s max1 p ffic

2

X X sj sj > G;

j2dg

smin e 1p ffic ;

have

smin will

Xn

2

j1

0

XL

s j

1

X

@

X

sj

g1

j2dg

j2dh

By (23)(25), we have

sjA > L G:

25

0

XL

L G< @

g1

1

X

sj

X

Xn

sjA 2 sj 6 2 G L :

j2dg

j2dh

j1

3.5. Implementation of IACO

The detailed steps of IACO is as follows.

Step 1. Classify all the jobs into types by their sizes. In each type,

order the jobs in non-increasing order of their processing

times.

Step 2. Set the parameters of IACO. Initialize the pheromone

density between jobs and set N 1; m 1.

Step 3. Create a batch and the candidate list for ant m. Select the

job with the longest processing time and put it into the

batch. Delete the job from the candidate list.

Step 4. Select a job i from the candidate list by (18). Compare the

Level

Value

J1

Factor

50

J2

J3

Numberof jobs

100

200

S1

[1,10]

si > sj and siti < sjtj, put j in the batch. If more than one

Table 2

Experimental

results

B < G (%)

for J1

insta

B G (%)

J1S1T1

0.00

J1S1T2

J1S1T3

J1S2T1

J1S2T2

J1S2T3

J1S3T1

J1S3T2

J1S3T3

J1S4T1

J1S4T2

J1S4T3

0.00

1.63

0.00

1.68

1.11

1.33

1.24

3.88

1.58

1.42

2.71

of instances and report the results. We show the gap between the

solutions found by IACO and the lower bound, normalized by the

lower bound. We also show the average running time of IACO,

measured in seconds. In each level, there are three parameters: the

number of jobs, the processing times of jobs and the job sizes. The

number of jobs are denoted by J1, J2 and J3 which represent an

instance with 50, 100 and 200 jobs, respectively. The processing

times are divided into three levels as T1, T2 and T3 which indicate

that the processing times of jobs obey a uniform distribution in the

intervals of [1,10], [1,20] and [1,30], respectively. In a similar

fashion, job sizes are divided into four levels S1, S2, S3 and S4,

which indicate that the sizes of the jobs obey a uniform

distribution in the interval [1,10], [10,20], [10,30] and [1,40],

respectively. The levels are shown in Table 1. A level can be

denoted by JxSyTz. For example, J2S1T3 represents the level

where there are 100 jobs, sj obeys the uniform distribution in the

interval [1,10] and tj obeys the uniform distribution in the interval

[1,30]. For each of the 36 levels, we randomly generate 10

S2

Intervalof sj

[10,20]

instances.

S3

S4

T1

[10,30]

[1,40]

[1,10]

T2

Intervalof tj

[1,20]

T3

[1,30]

B > G (%)

B < G (%)

B G (%)

B > G (%)

B < G (%)

B G (%)

B> G(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

1.198

0.00

0.00

1.72

1.79

1.64

3.44

1.43

4.23

1.08

0.83

2.16

0.00

0.00

1.08

3.03

1.82

1.72

1.40

1.61

1.42

1.83

0.54

0.00

1.39

2.19

2.59

1.34

2.61

2.16

2.04

1.17

1.35

0.98

0.00

0.00

1.53

0.80

1.20

1.08

2.28

0.53

2.28

1.44

1.17

0.00

1.61

1.89

1.23

0.74

1.59

2.76

1.27

1.69

0.92

1.30

0.00

0.00

1.33

0.93

2.13

2.89

3.05

2.41

1.28

0.67

1.63

0.00

0.00

1.29

1.96

2.41

2.22

1.01

3.09

1.09

0.67

0.48

0.00

0.00

5.30

1.96

0.87

2.83

0.84

2.11

1.17

1.18

0.63

1.205

1.302

0.957

1.702

1.131

1.375

1.366

1.445

1.358

1.944

1.509

nces.

sjtj siti. If no job satisfies the condition, put i in the batch.

Then update the candidate list.

Step 5. Repeat Step 4 until the candidate list is empty.

Step 6. Repeat Steps 35 until all the jobs have been assigned in

batches. Now a feasible solution has been obtained. Set

m m 1. If m > M, then go to Step 7, else go to

Step 3.

Step 7. Compare all the obtained solutions and find the best

solution. Update the pheromone by (19)(22). Test

whether N Nmax. If N Nmax, then go to Step 8, else

set N N 1 and begin the next iteration (i.e., execute

Steps 3 to 6).

Step 8. When N Nmax, update the global best solution and

output the production schedule.

Step 9. Execute the distribution algorithm A1 to generate the

distribution schedule. Calculate the production cost and

distribution cost by (10) and (11). Output the total cost

TC.

4. Computational experiments

Computational experiments are performed to test the

performance of our heuristic. In Section 4.1, we will describe the

parameter setting in the experiment. In Section 4.2, we will report

the experimental results.

capacity (B) and the vehicle capacity (G). These are: (1) B 40

and G 60 for the case B < G, (2) B G 40 for the case B

G, and

(3) B 60 and G 40 for the case B > G. We also want to test

the effect of the weight (d) of the distribution cost on the

performance of the heuristics. We choose five different values of

d, d 0:2; 0:5; 1:0; 1:5; 5:0.

In the experiment, we try different values of M. We find that

when M > 20, there is very little improvement. So we set

Table 1

Levels of instances.

Instances

d 0:5

d 1:0

Table 3

Additional experimental results for J1 instances.

Instances d 0:2

B <G

(%)

J1S1T1

J1S1T2

J1S1T3

J1S2T1

J1S2T2

J1S2T3

J1S3T1

J1S3T2

J1S3T3

J1S4T1

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.21

2.87

3.01

2.68

1.69

2.64

2.03

d 5:0

B G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.72

2.79

2.06

1.90

2.71

3.61

1.68

B >G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.98

1.85

3.25

2.38

2.36

2.90

2.37

B <G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.45

2.33

2.68

3.01

3.27

3.11

1.80

B G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.38

1.28

1.96

2.67

3.25

1.63

2.36

B >G

(%)

0.00

0.00

1.30

2.93

3.25

1.39

3.00

2.97

2.58

1.65

J1S4T2

J1S4T3

2.39

2.01

2.08

2.57

1.39

1.63

2.48

2.93

1.03

1.67

2.89

2.61

J2S4T2

J2S4T3

We find that in most instances IACO has a good performance

when a 1 and b 4. Other parameters are set as q 0:1;

Nmax 200 and in Eq. (22), c is set as c 0:05. In the

rotation scheme, k is set as k dNmax=ne 3, where dxe

represents the smallest integer larger than x.

2.88

2.20

3.24

3.13

223

2.13

2.19

2.61

2.41

J1S1T1 and J1S1T2, where the GAP values are zero across the

board (i.e., all values of d; B and G). In both cases, the size of

each job obeys the uniform distribution in the interval [1,10].

Since the job sizes are small compared with the capacity of the

machine, jobs have more opportunities to make full batches;

i.e., batches with total size B. Since many batches are full, it is

not difficult to find an optimal solution. Comparing the various

CPU, 2.936 GHz/1.96G RAM computer. The solutions of

IACO are compared with the lower bound given in Proposition

2. For each level, we randomly generate 10 instances, and each

instance is executed 200 times. For each instance, we use GAP

d 0:5

d 1:0

d 1:5

Avg.Time

where the largest GAP is 2.76%. For d 1:5, the largest GAP

is 5.30%, and for d 0:5, the largest GAP is

IACO compared with the lower bound, where GAP is defined as

TC LB

GAP

2.61

2.46

the case B < G, column 3 is for the case B G, and column 4

is for the case B > G. Columns 57 show the results when d

1:0, and columns 810 show the results when d 1:5.

Column 11 presents the average running time of the 10

instances, measured in seconds.

Instances

3.20

3.12

100%;

LB where TC is the best value among the 200

Table 6

Table 4

Experimental results for J2 instances.

Instances

d 0:5

d 1:0

d 1:5

Avg.Time

J2S1T1

B < G (%)

0.00

B G (%)

0.00

B > G (%)

0.00

B < G (%)

0.00

B G (%)

0.00

B > G (%)

0.00

B < G (%)

0.00

B G (%)

0.00

B>G(%)

0.00

2.293

J2S1T2

J2S1T3

J2S2T1

J2S2T2

J2S2T3

J2S3T1

J2S3T2

J2S3T3

J2S4T1

J2S4T2

J2S4T3

0.00

0.00

1.27

0.52

1.30

1.90

1.33

2.12

1.20

1.03

0.60

0.00

0.00

0.91

1.69

1.77

1.64

1.88

2.01

2.15

0.61

0.72

0.00

0.00

0.64

0.33

1.21

0.95

1.34

0.74

0.89

0.55

1.31

0.00

0.00

0.84

1.84

1.24

2.63

0.75

1.83

0.61

0.34

0.89

0.00

0.83

0.79

1.25

0.23

1.63

2.81

1.43

1.18

0.34

0.90

0.00

0.99

1.13

1.34

1.81

1.73

1.34

1.40

1.47

0.50

0.90

0.00

0.00

0.80

1.31

2.68

2.64

1.48

2.31

1.46

1.28

0.52

0.00

0.00

1.83

1.29

1.51

2.12

1.82

1.09

1.64

1.21

0.59

0.00

0.00

1.46

0.95

1.86

1.99

1.84

2.68

1.32

1.46

0.91

2.302

2.986

2.414

2.725

2.796

2.822

2.881

3.182

3.426

3.974

3.861

B > G (%)

0.75

B < G (%)

0.37

B G (%)

0.75

B>G

0.81

0.58

0.66

0.65

0.42

1.19

1.00

1.21

0.84

0.84

0.64

1.27

0.17

0.61

0.83

1.71

1.12

1.73

0.87

1.74

0.79

0.41

0.84

0.52

0.80

0.79

1.10

2.08

0.74

2.01

1.50

1.12

0.41

0.74

0.44

0.18

1.22

1.10

1.64

1.42

1.33

1.39

1.66

0.73

0.93

For each level, we calculate the average of the 10 GAP values

of the 10 instances, and the results are reported in Tables 24

(which will be described later).

Table 2 presents the experimental results for instances with 50

jobs and d 0:5; 1:0; 1:5. Column 1 shows the level of

instances.

d 1:5

Avg. Time

Table 5

Additional experimental results for J2 instances.

Instances d 0:2

B<G

(%)

J2S1T1

J2S1T2

J2S1T3

J2S2T1

J2S2T2

J2S2T3

J2S3T1

J2S3T2

J2S3T3

J2S4T1

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.34

3.50

2.95

4.09

4.24

4.63

2.39

0.00

0.00

0.00

2.31

3.51

4.20

3.62

4.56

3.29

2.45

B>G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

1.54

1.94

3.54

2.37

2.94

2.48

2.46

B<G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

1.59

1.56

2.94

3.18

3.98

2.60

2.61

J3S1T2

J3S1T3

J3S2T1

J3S2T2

J3S2T3

J3S3T1

J3S3T2

J3S3T3

J3S4T1

J3S4T2

J3S4T3

0.12

0.24

1.18

0.66

2.22

1.01

1.20

2.00

1.14

1.07

0.50

0.69

0.59

0.77

1.62

1.74

1.55

1.78

2.16

2.10

0.77

0.41

4.23%. With respect to the running time, all running times are less

than two seconds. This shows that IACO has excellent

performance with a short running time.

d 5:0

B G

(%)

B < G (%)

B G (%)

J3S1T1

0.21

0.39

B G

(%)

0.00

0.00

0.00

1.96

2.79

2.54

3.00

2.15

2.16

2.76

B >G

We

(%)

performance of the algorithm. Table 3 presents the experimental

results for instances with 50 jobs and d 0:2; 5:0. As can be

seen from Table 3, the performance of the algorithm when d

0:2 is similar to that of the case of d 5:0. Moreover, the results

shown in Table 3 are comparable to those of Table 2.

Table 4 reports the results for instances with 100 jobs and d

0:5; 1:0; 1:5. IACO also finds optimal solutions in J2S1T1 and

J1S1T2, where sj obeys the uniform distribution in the interval

[1,10]. The GAP values are even better than those in Table 2. The

Fig. 2. Performance of IACO in 1000 iterations; d 1:0.

terms of performance, there is not much difference among the

various values of d. The average running time is higher than that

in Table 2. On all instances, the average running time is less than

four seconds.

Table 5 presents the results for instances with 100 jobs and d

0:2; 5:0. Again, the results for d 0:2 is similar to those of d

5:0, even though the two d values are quite different. The

results in Table 5 are slightly higher than those in Table 4, but not

by much.

Table 6 presents the results for large-scale instances; i.e., the

number of jobs is 200. In this case, IACO does not find optimal

solution in any instance; i.e., there is no GAP value that is zero.

Similar to Table 2, IACO gets better performance when d 1:0

(the largest GAP value is 2.08%), compared with d 0:5 (the

largest GAP value is 2.22%) and d 1:5 (the largest GAP value

is 3.32%). The average running time is a little higher than the

cases of 50 and 100 jobs, with the largest average running time

close to five seconds.

Table 7 presents the results for instances with 200 jobs and d

0:2; 5:0. As can be seen from Table 7, the results for d 0:2

GAP (%)

9

8

7

Table 7

Additional experimental results for J3 instances.

Instances d 0:2

J3S1T1

J3S1T2

J3S1T3

J3S2T1

J3S2T2

J3S2T3

J3S3T1

J3S3T2

J3S3T3

J3S4T1

J3S4T2

J3S4T3

B<G

B=G

d 5:0

B<G

(%)

B G

(%)

B>G

(%)

B<G

(%)

B G

(%)

B >G

(%)

0.00

0.00

1.31

1.95

2.17

2.34

1.91

4.35

2.84

2.08

2.80

3.10

0.00

0.25

2.03

2.55

2.61

4.45

2.45

2.13

2.37

2.39

3.12

2.17

0.00

0.00

2.50

2.46

2.74

2.33

2.37

2.87

2.49

2.16

2.74

2.46

0.00

0.40

1.98

1.78

2.80

2.18

2.44

2.66

1.67

2.30

2.58

2.54

0.00

0.00

2.18

2.31

3.00

2.47

3.00

2.17

3.54

2.09

2.60

2.22

0.31

0.00

2.46

3.15

2.49

2.18

2.77

6

3.33

2.39 5

1.99 4

2.34 3

2.61

2

B>G

1

100

200

700

300

800

400

900

500

1000

600

Number of iteraions

Fig. 4. Performance of IACO in 1000 iterations; d 0:2.

GAP (%)

12

B<G

10

B=G

B>G

8

6

Fig. 1. Performance of IACO in 1000 iterations; d 0:5.

4

2

0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

Number of iterations

Fig. 5. Performance of IACO in 1000 iterations; d 5:0.

900 1000

in Table 7 are similar to those in Table 6.

From Tables 27, we see that IACO has excellent performance

and it runs fast. Most of the time, it gives a GAP value about 2

3%; the largest GAP is less than 6%. The running time is also fast.

Most of the time it takes 23 s; the longest one is about 5 s.

In order to make a further investigation on the performance of

IACO, we take a more complex instance where n 500; sj and tj

obey uniform distribution in the intervals [1, 40] and [1, 30],

respectively. We set Nmax 1000 and record the convergence

process of IACO. GAP is reported after every 100 iterations. The

results are shown in Figs. 13 for the cases of d = 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5,

respectively. In each figure, the blue line is for the case B < G,

the red line is for the case B G, and the green line is for the

case B > G. In all three figures, we find that after 200 iterations,

the GAP values are approximately 67%. After 400 iterations, the

GAP values are approximately 45%. If the number of iterations

continues to increase, there is hardly any improvement in the

solutions.

Figs. 4 and 5 show the results for the cases of d 0:2 and d

iterations, the GAP values are approximately 46%. After 700

iterations, the GAP values drop to 35%, and there is hardly

any improvement with more iterations after 700 iterations. In

Fig. 5, we see that after 500 iterations, the GAP values are

approximately 68%. After 700 iterations, the GAP values

drop to 46%, and there is hardly any improvementwith more

iterations after 700 iterations. This shows that IACO has a

convergence after 700 iterations.

5. Conclusions

We study an integrated scheduling problem for the

manufacturers. In the production part, the batch-processing

machine has a fixed capacity and the jobs have arbitrary sizes

and processing times. Once a batch is being processed, no

interruption is allowed.

When jobs are completed, they are delivered by identical

vehicles with a common transport capacity. The objective is to

minimize the total cost of production and distribution. Since

the problem is NP-hard in the strong sense, we propose an

improved ant colony optimization method to schedule the jobs.

A new candidate list is designed according to the sizes of the

jobs. The performance of our heuristic is tested by 36 levels of

instances and the results show that our algorithm has excellent

performance.

Future research is needed to investigate an integrated

scheduling problem where the machine configurations are

more complex. For example, in practice, flow shop and job

shop are often encountered and the integrated problems are

even harder to solve. Since the single-machine problem is a

special case of flow shop and job shop, the two problems are

obviously NP-hard in the strong sense. Another direction for

future research is the supply chain scheduling that includes

production, inventory and distribution. Total cost and service

level are both interesting objectives.

Acknowledgements

This work is partly supported by the National Natural

Science Foundation of China under Grants 71202048,

71131002, 71071045 and 71471052. This work is also partly

supported by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral

Program of Higher Education of China under Grant

225

referees whose suggestions have greatly improve the

readability of the paper.

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