Scheduling techniques to optimise rail operations

Masoud, Mahmoud Mohammed Abd Alla (2012) Scheduling techniques to optimise rail operations. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In Australia, railway systems play a vital role in transporting the sugarcane crop from farms to mills. The sugarcane transport system is very complex and uses daily schedules, consisting of a set of locomotives runs, to satisfy the requirements of the mill and harvesters. The total cost of sugarcane transport operations is very high; over 35% of the total cost of sugarcane production in Australia is incurred in cane transport. Efficient schedules for sugarcane transport can reduce the cost and limit the negative effects that this system can have on the raw sugar production system. There are several benefits to formulating the train scheduling problem as a blocking parallel-machine job shop scheduling (BPMJSS) problem, namely to prevent two trains passing in one section at the same time; to keep the train activities (operations) in sequence during each run (trip) by applying precedence constraints; to pass the trains on one section in the correct order (priorities of passing trains) by applying disjunctive constraints; and, to ease passing trains by solving rail conflicts by applying blocking constraints and Parallel Machine Scheduling. Therefore, the sugarcane rail operations are formulated as BPMJSS problem.

A mixed integer programming and constraint programming approaches are used to describe the BPMJSS problem. The model is solved by the integration of constraint programming, mixed integer programming and search techniques. The optimality performance is tested by Optimization Programming Language (OPL) and CPLEX software on small and large size instances based on specific criteria. A real life problem is used to verify and validate the approach. Constructive heuristics and new metaheuristics including simulated annealing and tabu search are proposed to solve this complex and NP-hard scheduling problem and produce a more efficient scheduling system. Innovative hybrid and hyper metaheuristic techniques are developed and coded using C# language to improve the solutions quality and CPU time. Hybrid techniques depend on integrating heuristic and metaheuristic techniques consecutively, while hyper techniques are the complete integration between different metaheuristic techniques, heuristic techniques, or both.

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190 since deposited on 21 Aug 2012
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ID Code: 53250
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Kozan, Erhan & Kent, Geoffrey Alan
Additional Information: Thesis embargoed until 5/3/2014.
Keywords: scheduling techniques, optimise rail operations
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 21 Aug 2012 02:13
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 00:25

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