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European Journal of Operational Research 165 (2005) 285–288


Project management and scheduling

The EURO Working Group on Project Man- life project management, and thus the literature on
agement and Scheduling (WG-PMS) was estab- project scheduling under risk and uncertainty is
lished in 1986, with the aim of assessing the state- witnessing a recent explosion.
of-the-art and stimulating progress in both theory Herroelen and Leus in their invited review
and practice within the area. To achieve these overview fundamental approaches for scheduling
goals, the decision was made to organize work- under uncertainty––many of which have been
shops every two years. The Eighth International mainly or solely studied in a machine scheduling
Workshop on Project Management and Schedul- environment––and discuss the potentials of these
ing was held in Valencia (Spain), April 3–5, 2002, approaches for scheduling under uncertainty pro-
and was hosted by the Department of Financial jects with deterministic network evolution structure.
and Mathematical Economics and the Depart- Elmaghraby delivers a stimulating and insight-
ment of Statistics and Operational Research ful discussion on the issue of uncertainty in project
of the University of Valencia. The proceedings management, especially when dealing with the risk
book contains extended abstracts of all 94 papers inherent in the estimates relative to cost and time.
accepted by the program committee. These papers Based on a project scheduling problem with sto-
were clustered for presentation into 26 ses- chastic activity work contents, the paper exempli-
sions scheduled in three parallel streams. Broadly fies the prejudicial consequences that are incurred
speaking, the streams correspond to Project in project control when random variables are
Management, Machine Scheduling, and Applica- substituted into their expected values.
tions. Introducing flexibility in the schedule determi-
This feature issue contains 20 papers that were nation phase is an approach proposed by Artigues,
presented at the Workshop, and accepted for Billaut, and Esswein to cope with uncertainty in a
publication after a careful reviewing process. We general shop floor scheduling setting with release
would like to express our gratitude to all the dates and deadlines. The flexibility is provided by
reviewers for their invaluable efforts allowing us to generating a family of schedules instead of a un-
select a set of high-quality contributions. ique one, so that the decision-maker can switch
The first three papers address the issue of from one solution to another in case of disrup-
scheduling under uncertainty. The project sched- tions. A family of schedules is represented by
uling literature largely concentrates on the gener- defining for each machine a sequence of groups of
ation of an optimal (or near optimal) schedule for operations, where the operations within a group
problems arising in project planning and control are totally permutable. The generation and eval-
that assume complete information and a static uation of families of schedules, the maximization
deterministic environment within which the pre- of flexibility criteria and the impact of grouping
computed baseline schedule will be executed. operations on the makespan value are some of the
However, uncertainty lies at the very heart of real- issues dealt with in the paper.

0377-2217/$ - see front matter Ó 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
286 Editorial / European Journal of Operational Research 165 (2005) 285–288

The next four papers are devoted to project verse algorithms and produces notable improve-
management. In medium to large-scale projects, it ments in the quality of the schedules with a small,
is quite common for the project owner, lacking the and generally favourable, change in computing
technical skills in a number of areas that the pro- time. Their main conclusion is that double justifi-
ject execution may call for, to subcontract some or cation should always be considered when design-
all of the project activities to one or more spe- ing an algorithm for the RCPSP.
cialists. Under these circumstances, a bidding A group of five papers are clustered around the
mechanism is often the preferred price-setting study of the computational complexity of different
mechanism. Paul and Gutierrez approach, from machine scheduling problems. Sevastianov pro-
the point of view of the project owner, the process poses a novel complexity analysis of discrete
of price setting using sealed bids. They use a par- problems, multi-parameter complexity analysis,
simonious stochastic model to compare the ex- which consists in establishing the complexity of the
pected price fetched by three commonly used various sub-problems of a given problem whose
contract forms: Fixed Price, Cost Plus and an intractability has been determined. The sub-prob-
intermediate type of contract that they call a Menu lems are specified by combinations of constraints
contract. The impact of risk aversion and collusion on key problem parameters. Since the number of
on the average winning bid price is also analysed. sub-problems may be infinite, the author intro-
In project management, the project duration duces and studies the concept of a basis system of
can often be compressed by accelerating some of sub-problems, a minimum cardinality set of sub-
its activities at an additional expense. This is the problems such that the determination of their
so-called time-cost trade-off problem (TCTP). complexities would be sufficient to determine the
Next two papers consider different versions of this complexity of any other sub-problem.
problem. The new ideas and theoretical results presented
The paper by Akkan, Drexl, and Kimms pro- in the paper are illustrated with the application of
vides lower and upper bounds for the discrete multi-parameter complexity analysis to two dis-
version of the problem (DTCTP) using column crete problems: the open shop scheduling problem
generation techniques based on network decom- and the connected list colouring problem. This fi-
position. A computational study is provided to nal problem allows a natural interpretation as a
demonstrate that the presented bounds are tight scheduling problem on parallel machines.
and that large and hard instances can be solved in Flow-shop problems with a single server are
short run-time. generalizations of classical flow-shop problems
Recently, time-switch constraints have been where setup times are assumed to be separable from
introduced into the discrete time/cost trade-off the processing times and all setups have to be done
problem in order to cope with day, night and by a single server. Brucker and Knust derive new
weekend shifts. Basically, these constraints impose complexity results for special cases where restric-
a specified starting time on the project activities tions on processing and or setup times are specified.
and force them to be inactive during specified time Blazewicz, Pesch, Sterna, and Werner con-
periods. Vanhoucke proposes a new branch-and- sider another version of the flow-shop scheduling
bound algorithm for the DTCTP with time-switch problem––the two-machine non-preemptive flow-
constraints that outperforms previous results. shop scheduling problem with the total weighted
In the context of the resource-constrained pro- late work criterion and a common due date. This
ject scheduling problem (RCPSP), Valls, Ballestın, criterion takes into account the duration of task
and Quintanilla propose the double justification as late parts while ignoring the quantity of this delay.
a technique able to improve the quality of solu- They have proved the binary NP-hardness of the
tions obtained by other methods. By incorporating problem mentioned and propose a dynamic pro-
double justification into 22 diverse heuristic algo- gramming approach of pseudo-polynomial time
rithms, they show that justification is a simple complexity proving in this way the ordinary NP-
technique that can be incorporated easily into di- hardness of this problem.
Editorial / European Journal of Operational Research 165 (2005) 285–288 287

Janiak, Kovalyov, Kubiak, and Werner study The two subsequent papers propose solution
the single machine scheduling problem with con- procedures for variants of the parallel machine
trollable job processing times to minimize a linear scheduling problem.
combination of the total weighted job completion Ghirardi and Potts consider the problem of
time and the total weighted processing time com- scheduling jobs on unrelated parallel machines to
pression. They show that this scheduling problem minimize the maximum completion time. The
is polynomially equivalent to the problem of paper presents an application of the Recovering
maximizing a special subclass of half-products, Beam Search method to this problem that requires
namely, positive half-products. This equivalence polynomial time. The Recovering Beam Search
immediately proves that the former problem is differs from the traditional Beam Search approach
NP-hard in the ordinary sense and that it can be in that it allows the possibility of correcting wrong
solved in pseudo-polynomial time by dynamic decisions by replacing partial solutions with oth-
programs proposed earlier for the half-product ers. The algorithm produces good results on large
minimization. They also present two fast fully instances within a reasonable time limit.
polynomial time approximation schemes for any Singh considers a machine scheduling problem
positive half-product––including the problem with with parallel processors, precedence constraints,
controllable job processing times. unit execution time tasks, unit communication
The paper by Cheng, Ng, Yuan, and Liu studies delays, and the criterion of maximum lateness. In
the one machine total weighted tardiness schedul- the case when the graph representing the partially
ing problem. The authors describe an Oðn2 Þ ordered set of tasks is an outforest, it is shown that
approximation algorithm for the general problem if the number of processors is restricted then the
without release dates. As the general problem is generalization of the Brucker–Garey–Johnson
NP-hard in the strong sense, the authors also algorithm previously presented by the same author
investigate the NP-hardness of two special cases of is a 2-approximation algorithm, and produces an
the problem––the case where all job due dates have optimal schedule if the number of processors is
equal slacks and the case where job due dates are sufficiently large. Another polynomial time algo-
affine-linear functions of their processing times rithm, which enables us to obtain an optimal
and the job tardiness weights are proportional to schedule when the number of processors is two
their processing times––and provide algorithms for and precedence constraints are given in the form of
their resolution. an outforest, is also presented.
The polyhedral aspects of scheduling problems The flow-shop scheduling problem has been the
have been extensively studied since the pioneering subject of extensive research in recent years. Ruiz
work by Balas. Most of the research in this area, and Maroto present a review and comparative
however, concentrates on the single machine evaluation of heuristics and metaheuristics for this
problem. Cheng and Shakhlevich consider the problem. The computational comparison is made
preemptive identical parallel machine problem against Taillard’s benchmarks and includes 25
with identical jobs and both the non-preemptive methods, ranging from the classical Johnson’s
and preemptive versions of the unit-time open shop algorithm or dispatching rules to the most recent
scheduling problem. They construct a linear metaheuristics.
description of the scheduling polyhedron for these The last group of papers focuses on proposing
problems which consists of simultaneous linear new models and solution approaches to various
inequalities that specify the convex hull of the job practical applications. Two papers deal with a
completion time vectors associated with the feasi- subject of major importance to production sched-
ble schedules. The study of the properties of the uling in process industries, the management
scheduling polyhedron enables the demonstration of storage systems. The paper by Neumann,
that these problems are solvable in polynomial time Schwindt, and Trautmann deals with scheduling
in the case of an arbitrary non-decreasing separable continuous, discontinuous, and semi-continuous
objective function of job completion times. material flows in process industries, where scarce
288 Editorial / European Journal of Operational Research 165 (2005) 285–288

production resources and intermediate storage treat a set of arcs in a network where the trips must
facilities with different configurations and limited be planned over a multi-period horizon. Solving
capacity have to be taken into account. The au- the PCARP implies the simultaneous determina-
thors formulate a basic production scheduling tion of planning (the assignment of street services
problem in process industries where a convex to periods) and scheduling (the detailed solution of
objective function is to be minimized subject to the resulting CARP for one period) decisions over
(renewable and cumulative) resource and temporal the whole horizon. The promising results shown
constraints. They propose a branch-and-bound in the paper demonstrate the value of integrat-
algorithm for its resolution. Additional features ing tactical and operational decisions in long-
which frequently occur in practice can be included term planning problems not only in arc routing
without difficulty. but also in manufacturing. Notice that the PCARP
In the context of an implementation in a con- may be viewed as a multi-period production
strained-based system, Sourd and Rogerie intro- problem when vehicles are considered as machines,
duce the continuous reservoir model in which the street services as tasks, and service costs as dura-
activity fills or empties the reservoir at a constant tions.
rate from its start time to end time. By introducing
the concept of function variables, the model is
generalized to deal with additional constraints,
such as leaks or overflows, that cannot be mod-
We wish to express our gratitude to the spon-
elled by filling and emptying activities. Other dis-
sors who made the Workshop possible: The City
tinguishing features of the generalized model are
of Valencia, The University of Valencia, Fundaci
that the durations and the depletion or replenish-
Universitat-Empresa de Valencia (ADEIT), Insti-
ment rates of the activities are assumed to be
tuto Valenciano de Investigaciones Econ omicas
decision variables and secondly, the depletion and
(IVIE), Ministerio de Educaci on, Cultura y De-
replenishment rates may depend on the current
porte de Espa~ na, The Associaton of European
inventory level. Timetabling is adapted and ex-
Operational Research Societies (EURO).
tended to this new model.
Alvarez-Valdes, Fuertes, Tamarit, Gimenez,
Vicente Valls
and Ramos deal with the design and implementa-
Facultad de Matematicas
tion of a scheduling system in a glass factory. The
Departamento de Estad. e Investig. Operat.
problem can be considered as a generalization of
Universidad de Valencia
the flexible job-shop problem with both single and
Dr. Moliner 50, 46100
parallel machines, job batches, setup times, release
Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
dates, and due dates. The goal is to obtain feasible
E-mail address: vicente:valls@uv:es
schedules by minimizing the makespan if the
problem is feasible, or to obtain a ‘‘best compro- Jan Weglarz
mise’’ schedule if a full solution is not possible. Technical University of Poznan
Lacomme, Prins, and Ramdane-Cherif consider Poland
the Periodic Capacitated Arc Routing Problem
(PCARP) which involves the routing of vehicles to Available online 1 June 2004