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Algorithms for Scheduling and Routing Problems

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Optimization has been a central topic in most scientific disciplines for centuries. Continuous optimization has long benefited from well-established techniques of calculus. Discrete optimization, on the other hand, has risen to prominence quite recently. Advances in combinatorial optimization and integer programming in the past few decades, together with the improvement of computer hardware have enabled computer scientists to approach the the problems in this area both theoretically and computationally. However, obtaining the exact solution for many discrete optimization problems remains is still a challenging task, mainly because most of these problems are NP-hard. Under the widespread assumption that P ≠ NP, these problems are intractable from a computational complexity standpoint. Therefore, we should settle for near-optimal solutions. In this thesis, we develop techniques to obtain solutions that are provably close to the optimal for different indivisible resource allocation problems. Indivisible resource allocation encompasses a large class of problems in discrete optimization which can appear in disguise in various theoretical or applied settings. Specifically, we consider two indivisible resource allocation problems. The first one is a variant of the vehicle routing problem known as Skill Vehicle Routing problem, in which the aim is to obtain optimal tours for a fleet of vehicles that provides service to a set of customers. Each of the vehicles possesses a particular set of skills suitable for a subset of the tasks. Each customer, based on the type of service he requires, can only be served by a subset of vehicles. We study this problem computationally and find either the optimal solution or a relatively tight bound on the optimal solution on fairly large problem instances. The second problem involves approximation algorithms for two versions of the classic scheduling problem, the restricted $R||C_{max}$ and the restricted Santa Claus problem. The objective is to design a polynomial time approximation scheme (PTAS) for ordered instances of the two problems. Finally, we consider the class of precedence hierarchies in which the neighborhoods of the processors form Laminar families. We show similar results for a generalization of this model.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Krishnamurti, Ramesh
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