A Stochastic Branch-and-Bound Approach to Activity Crashing in Project Management

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


Many applications such as project scheduling, workflow modeling, or business process re-engineering incorporate the common idea that a product, task, or service consisting of interdependent time-related activities should be produced or performed within given time limits. In real-life applications, certain measures like the use of additional manpower, the assignment of highly-skilled personnel to specific jobs, or the substitution of equipment are often considered as means of increasing the probability of meeting a due date and thus avoiding penalty costs. This paper investigates the problem of selecting, from a set of possible measures of this kind, the combination of measures that is the most cost-efficient. Assuming stochastic activity durations, the computation of the optimal combination of measures may be very expensive in terms of runtime. In this article, we introduce a powerful stochastic optimization approach to determine a set of efficient measures that crash selected activities in a stochastic activity network. Our approach modifies the conventional Stochastic Branch-and-Bound, using a heuristic - instead of exact methods - to solve the deterministic subproblem. This modification spares computational time and by doing so provides an appropriate method for solving various related applications of combinatorial stochastic optimization. A comparative computational study shows that our approach not only outperforms standard techniques but also definitely improves conventional Stochastic Branch-and-Bound.
Seiten (von - bis)125-135
FachzeitschriftINFORMS Journal on Computing
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2000

ÖFOS 2012

  • 5020 Wirtschaftswissenschaften