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A Hybrid Constraint Programming Approach for Nurse Rostering Problems
 

Summary: A Hybrid Constraint Programming Approach
for Nurse Rostering Problems
Rong Qu and Fang He1
Abstract: Due to the complexity of nurse rostering problems (NRPs), Constraint Pro-
gramming (CP) approaches on their own have shown to be ineffective in solving these
highly constrained problems. We investigate a two-stage hybrid CP approach on real world
benchmark NRPs. In the first stage, a constraint satisfaction model is used to generate
weekly rosters consist of high quality shift sequences satisfying a subset of constraints. An
iterative forward search is then adapted to extend them to build complete feasible solutions.
Variable and value selection heuristics are employed to improve the efficiency. In the sec-
ond stage, a simple Variable Neighborhood Search is used to quickly improve the solution
obtained. The basic idea of the hybrid approach is based on the observations that high qual-
ity nurse rosters consist of high quality shift sequences. By decomposing the problems into
solvable sub-problems for CP, the search space of the original problems are significantly
reduced. The results on benchmark problems demonstrate the efficiency of this hybrid CP
approach when compared to the state-of-the-art approaches in the literature.
1. Introduction
Due to their complexity and importance in real world modern hospitals, nurse ros-
tering problems (NRPs) have been extensively studied in both Operational Re-
search and Artificial Intelligence societies for more than 40 years [6,10,13]. Most

  

Source: Aickelin, Uwe - School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham
Qu, Rong - School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences