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Efficient Design Optimization of Multi-State Flow Network for Multiple Commodities

Authors: Yu-Cheng Chou, Po Ting Lin


The network of delivering commodities has been an important design problem in our daily lives and many transportation applications. The delivery performance is evaluated based on the system reliability of delivering commodities from a source node to a sink node in the network. The system reliability is thus maximized to find the optimal routing. However, the design problem is not simple because (1) each path segment has randomly distributed attributes; (2) there are multiple commodities that consume various path capacities; (3) the optimal routing must successfully complete the delivery process within the allowable time constraints. In this paper, we want to focus on the design optimization of the Multi-State Flow Network (MSFN) for multiple commodities. We propose an efficient approach to evaluate the system reliability in the MSFN with respect to randomly distributed path attributes and find the optimal routing subject to the allowable time constraints. The delivery rates, also known as delivery currents, of the path segments are evaluated and the minimal-current arcs are eliminated to reduce the complexity of the MSFN. Accordingly, the correct optimal routing is found and the worst-case reliability is evaluated. It has been shown that the reliability of the optimal routing is at least higher than worst-case measure. Two benchmark examples are utilized to demonstrate the proposed method. The comparisons between the original and the reduced networks show that the proposed method is very efficient.

Keywords: Multiple Commodities, Multi-State Flow Network (MSFN), Time Constraints, Worst-Case Reliability (WCR)

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