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A neural network approach to job-shop scheduling

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4 Author(s)
Zhou, D.N. ; Dept. of Technol., Wisconsin Univ., Menomonie, WI, USA ; Cherkassky, V. ; Baldwin, T.R. ; Olson, D.E.

A novel analog computational network is presented for solving NP-complete constraint satisfaction problems, i.e. job-shop scheduling. In contrast to most neural approaches to combinatorial optimization based on quadratic energy cost function, the authors propose to use linear cost functions. As a result, the network complexity (number of neurons and the number of resistive interconnections) grows only linearly with problem size, and large-scale implementations become possible. The proposed approach is related to the linear programming network described by D.W. Tank and J.J. Hopfield (1985), which also uses a linear cost function for a simple optimization problem. It is shown how to map a difficult constraint-satisfaction problem onto a simple neural net in which the number of neural processors equals the number of subjobs (operations) and the number of interconnections grows linearly with the total number of operations. Simulations show that the authors' approach produces better solutions than existing neural approaches to job-shop scheduling, i.e. the traveling salesman problem-type Hopfield approach and integer linear programming approach of J.P.S. Foo and Y. Takefuji (1988), in terms of the quality of the solution and the network complexity

Published in:

Neural Networks, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 1 )