A shift sequence based approach for nurse scheduling and a new benchmark dataset
Journal of Heuristics
Article Link
Brucker, P. B., Edmund K; Curtois, Tim; Qu, Rong; Vanden Berghe, Greet. (2010). A shift sequence based approach for nurse scheduling and a new benchmark dataset. [Journal Article]. Journal of Heuristics, 16(4), 559-573. doi: 10.1007/s10732-008-9099-6
This paper investigates an adaptive constructive method for solving nurse rostering problems. The constraints considered in the problems are categorised into three classes: those that are sequence related, those that are nurse schedule related and those that are roster related. We propose a decomposition approach (to construct solutions) that consists of two stages: (1) to construct high quality sequences for nurses by only considering the sequence constraints, and (2) to iteratively construct schedules for nurses and the overall rosters, based on the sequences built and considering the schedule and roster constraints. In the second stage of the schedule construction, nurses are ordered and selected adaptively according to the quality of the schedules they were assigned to in the last iteration. Greedy local search is carried out during and after the roster construction, in order to improve the (partial) rosters built. We show that the local search heuristic during the roster construction can further improve the constructed solutions for the benchmark problems tested.; ; In addition, we introduce new benchmark nurse rostering datasets which are based upon real world data. The data sets represent a variety of real world constraints. The publication of this problem data to the research community is aimed at closing the gap between theory and practice in nurse scheduling research. One of the main objectives is to encourage more research on these data sets.