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Preprint 682-2000

Combinatorial Optimization & Graph Algorithms group (COGA-Preprints)

Scheduling Scarce Resources in Chemical Engineering
Final report for the research project Algorithms for Scheduling Scarce Recources in Chemical Engineering, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research. To appear in a volume on mathematical methods for solving problems in industry and business, Springer-Verlag.
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The efficient utilization of scarce resources, such as machines or manpower, is major challenge within production planning in the chemical industry. We describe solution methods for a resource-constrained scheduling problem which arises at a production facility at BASF AG in Ludwigshafen. We have developed and implemented two different algorithms to solve this problem, a novel approach which is based upon Lagrangian relaxation, as well as a branch-and-bound procedure. Since the Lagrangian approach is applicable for a whole variety of resource-constrained scheduling problems, it is of interest not only for the specific problem we describe, but is of interest also for many other industrial applications. In this paper, we describe both approaches, and also report on computational results, based upon practical problem instances as well as benchmark test sets.
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