Date of Award

12-2019

Degree Name

MS in Industrial Engineering

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College

College of Engineering

Advisor

Alessandro Hill

Advisor Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering

Abstract

It's commonly assumed that experience leads to efficiency, yet this is largely unaccounted for in resource-constrained project scheduling. This thesis considers the idea that learning effects could allow selected activities to be completed within reduced time, if they're scheduled after activities where workers learn relevant skills. This paper computationally explores the effect of this autonomous, intra-project learning on optimal makespan and problem difficulty. A learning extension is proposed to the standard RCPSP scheduling problem. Multiple parameters are considered, including project size, learning frequency, and learning intensity. A test instance generator is developed to adapt the popular PSPLIB library of scheduling problems to this model. Four different Constraint Programming model formulations are developed to efficiently solve the model. Bounding techniques are proposed for tightening optimality gaps, including four lower bounding model relaxations, an upper bounding model relaxation, and a Destructive Lower Bounding method. Hundreds of thousands of scenarios are tested to empirically determine the most efficient solution approaches and the impact of learning on project schedules. Potential makespan reduction as high as 50% is discovered, with the learning effects resembling a learning curve with a point of diminishing returns. A combination of bounding techniques is proven to produce significantly tighter optimality gaps.

Available for download on Wednesday, December 09, 2020

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