A Constraint-based Method for Project Scheduling with Time Windows

A. Cesta, A. Oddi and S. F. Smith

In Journal of Heuristics, volume 8 (1):109-136, 2002

This paper presents a heuristic algorithm for solving RCPSP/max, the resource constrained project scheduling problem with generalized precedence relations. The algorithm relies, at its core, on a constraint satisfaction problem solving (CSP) search procedure, which generates a consistent set of activity start times by incrementally removing resource conflicts from an otherwise temporally feasible solution. Key to the effectiveness of the CSP search procedure is its heuristic strategy for conflict selection. A conflict sampling method biased toward selection of minimal conflict sets that involve activities with higher-capacity requests is introduced, and coupled with a non-deterministic choice heuristic to guide the base conflict resolution process. This CSP search is then embedded within a larger iterative-sampling search framework to broaden search space coverage and promote solution optimization. The efficacy of the overall heuristic algorithm is demonstrated empirically on a large set of previously studied RCPSP/max benchmark problems.