Emanuela Guerriero

Publications

2 Robust Batch Process Scheduling in Pharmaceutical Industries: A Case Study

Authors: Tommaso Adamo, Gianpaolo Ghiani, Antonio D. Grieco, Emanuela Guerriero

Abstract:

Batch production plants provide a wide range of scheduling problems. In pharmaceutical industries a batch process is usually described by a recipe, consisting of an ordering of tasks to produce the desired product. In this research work we focused on pharmaceutical production processes requiring the culture of a microorganism population (i.e. bacteria, yeasts or antibiotics). Several sources of uncertainty may influence the yield of the culture processes, including (i) low performance and quality of the cultured microorganism population or (ii) microbial contamination. For these reasons, robustness is a valuable property for the considered application context. In particular, a robust schedule will not collapse immediately when a cell of microorganisms has to be thrown away due to a microbial contamination. Indeed, a robust schedule should change locally in small proportions and the overall performance measure (i.e. makespan, lateness) should change a little if at all. In this research work we formulated a constraint programming optimization (COP) model for the robust planning of antibiotics production. We developed a discrete-time model with a multi-criteria objective, ordering the different criteria and performing a lexicographic optimization. A feasible solution of the proposed COP model is a schedule of a given set of tasks onto available resources. The schedule has to satisfy tasks precedence constraints, resource capacity constraints and time constraints. In particular time constraints model tasks duedates and resource availability time windows constraints. To improve the schedule robustness, we modeled the concept of (a, b) super-solutions, where (a, b) are input parameters of the COP model. An (a, b) super-solution is one in which if a variables (i.e. the completion times of a culture tasks) lose their values (i.e. cultures are contaminated), the solution can be repaired by assigning these variables values with a new values (i.e. the completion times of a backup culture tasks) and at most b other variables (i.e. delaying the completion of at most b other tasks). The efficiency and applicability of the proposed model is demonstrated by solving instances taken from a real-life pharmaceutical company. Computational results showed that the determined super-solutions are near-optimal.

Keywords: Pharmaceutical Industries, Constraint Programming, super-solutions, batch process, robust scheduling

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1 Joint Training Offer Selection and Course Timetabling Problems: Models and Algorithms

Authors: Gianpaolo Ghiani, Emanuela Guerriero, Emanuele Manni, Alessandro Romano

Abstract:

In this article, we deal with a variant of the classical course timetabling problem that has a practical application in many areas of education. In particular, in this paper we are interested in high schools remedial courses. The purpose of such courses is to provide under-prepared students with the skills necessary to succeed in their studies. In particular, a student might be under prepared in an entire course, or only in a part of it. The limited availability of funds, as well as the limited amount of time and teachers at disposal, often requires schools to choose which courses and/or which teaching units to activate. Thus, schools need to model the training offer and the related timetabling, with the goal of ensuring the highest possible teaching quality, by meeting the above-mentioned financial, time and resources constraints. Moreover, there are some prerequisites between the teaching units that must be satisfied. We first present a Mixed-Integer Programming (MIP) model to solve this problem to optimality. However, the presence of many peculiar constraints contributes inevitably in increasing the complexity of the mathematical model. Thus, solving it through a general-purpose solver may be performed for small instances only, while solving real-life-sized instances of such model requires specific techniques or heuristic approaches. For this purpose, we also propose a heuristic approach, in which we make use of a fast constructive procedure to obtain a feasible solution. To assess our exact and heuristic approaches we perform extensive computational results on both real-life instances (obtained from a high school in Lecce, Italy) and randomly generated instances. Our tests show that the MIP model is never solved to optimality, with an average optimality gap of 57%. On the other hand, the heuristic algorithm is much faster (in about the 50% of the considered instances it converges in approximately half of the time limit) and in many cases allows achieving an improvement on the objective function value obtained by the MIP model. Such an improvement ranges between 18% and 66%.

Keywords: heuristic, School, MIP model, remedial course, timetabling

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Abstracts

2 Joint Training Offer Selection and Course Timetabling Problems: Models and Algorithms

Authors: Gianpaolo Ghiani, Emanuela Guerriero, Emanuele Manni, Alessandro Romano

Abstract:

In this article, we deal with a variant of the classical course timetabling problem that has a practical application in many areas of education. In particular, in this paper we are interested in high schools remedial courses. The purpose of such courses is to provide under-prepared students with the skills necessary to succeed in their studies. In particular, a student might be under prepared in an entire course, or only in a part of it. The limited availability of funds, as well as the limited amount of time and teachers at disposal, often requires schools to choose which courses and/or which teaching units to activate. Thus, schools need to model the training offer and the related timetabling, with the goal of ensuring the highest possible teaching quality, by meeting the above-mentioned financial, time and resources constraints. Moreover, there are some prerequisites between the teaching units that must be satisfied. We first present a Mixed-Integer Programming (MIP) model to solve this problem to optimality. However, the presence of many peculiar constraints contributes inevitably in increasing the complexity of the mathematical model. Thus, solving it through a general purpose solver may be performed for small instances only, while solving real-life-sized instances of such model requires specific techniques or heuristic approaches. For this purpose, we also propose a heuristic approach, in which we make use of a fast constructive procedure to obtain a feasible solution. To assess our exact and heuristic approaches we perform extensive computational results on both real-life instances (obtained from a high school in Lecce, Italy) and randomly generated instances. Our tests show that the MIP model is never solved to optimality, with an average optimality gap of 57%. On the other hand, the heuristic algorithm is much faster (in about the 50% of the considered instances it converges in approximately half of the time limit) and in many cases allows achieving an improvement on the objective function value obtained by the MIP model. Such an improvement ranges between 18% and 66%.

Keywords: heuristic, School, MIP model, remedial course, timetabling

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1 Robust Batch Process Scheduling in Pharmaceutical Industries: A Case Study

Authors: Tommaso Adamo, Gianpaolo Ghiani, Antonio Domenico Grieco, Emanuela Guerriero

Abstract:

Batch production plants provide a wide range of scheduling problems. In pharmaceutical industries a batch process is usually described by a recipe, consisting of an ordering of tasks to produce the desired product. In this research work we focused on pharmaceutical production processes requiring the culture of a microorganism population (i.e. bacteria, yeasts or antibiotics). Several sources of uncertainty may influence the yield of the culture processes, including (i) low performance and quality of the cultured microorganism population or (ii) microbial contamination. For these reasons, robustness is a valuable property for the considered application context. In particular, a robust schedule will not collapse immediately when a cell of microorganisms has to be thrown away due to a microbial contamination. Indeed, a robust schedule should change locally in small proportions and the overall performance measure (i.e. makespan, lateness) should change a little if at all. In this research work we formulated a constraint programming optimization (COP) model for the robust planning of antibiotics production. We developed a discrete-time model with a multi-criteria objective, ordering the different criteria and performing a lexicographic optimization. A feasible solution of the proposed COP model is a schedule of a given set of tasks onto available resources. The schedule has to satisfy tasks precedence constraints, resource capacity constraints and time constraints. In particular time constraints model tasks duedates and resource availability time windows constraints. To improve the schedule robustness, we modeled the concept of (a, b) super-solutions, where (a, b) are input parameters of the COP model. An (a, b) super-solution is one in which if a variables (i.e. the completion times of a culture tasks) lose their values (i.e. cultures are contaminated), the solution can be repaired by assigning these variables values with a new values (i.e. the completion times of a backup culture tasks) and at most b other variables (i.e. delaying the completion of at most b other tasks). The efficiency and applicability of the proposed model is demonstrated by solving instances taken from Sanofi Aventis, a French pharmaceutical company. Computational results showed that the determined super-solutions are near-optimal.

Keywords: Pharmaceutical Industries, Constraint Programming, Robust Scheduling, super-solutions, batch process

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