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A hybrid heuristic ordering and variable neighbourhood search for the nurse rostering problem

Authors
Journal
European Journal of Operational Research
0377-2217
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
188
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2007.04.030
Keywords
  • Variable Neighbourhood Search
  • Heuristics And Metaheuristics
  • Nurse Rostering
  • Hybrid Methods
Disciplines
  • Computer Science

Abstract

Abstract This paper is concerned with the development of intelligent decision support methodologies for nurse rostering problems in large modern hospital environments. We present an approach which hybridises heuristic ordering with variable neighbourhood search. We show that the search can be extended and the solution quality can be significantly improved by the careful combination and repeated use of heuristic ordering, variable neighbourhood search and back-tracking. The amount of computational time that is allowed plays a significant role and we analyse and discuss this. The algorithms are evaluated against a commercial Genetic Algorithm on commercial data. We demonstrate that this methodology can significantly outperform the commercial algorithm. This paper is one of the few in the scientific nurse rostering literature which deal with commercial data and which compare against a commercially implemented algorithm.

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