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An Investigation into the Time Dependent Vehicle Routing Problem with Loading Constraints

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Xiang Song
    Dr D Ouelhadj
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Outline of project:
With the emergence of international markets and the growth of globalization, the management of supply chains has gained increased attention, in which a reduction in actual logistics expenditure (mileage, time, and assets) with more efficient routing, loading and scheduling solution become more and more important . In the case of goods with specific handling and storage requirements, such as frozen, perishable or live products, the indoor pallet loading and outdoor vehicle routing problems need to be tackled at the same time. The proposed research focuses on developing an efficient time dependent vehicle routing and loading strategy for a vehicle routing problem with loading constraints. The proposed methodology is based upon a column generation technique, making it particularly attractive for complex computational optimization problems involving an exponential number of possible routes to choose from. The proposal combines ideas from Phi function, Column Generation, and Ant colony techniques. The training of Operations Research, C++ programming and Mathematical modelling is needed. In this proposal, we will investigate three innovations:

1) Set up one generic mathematical model for the multi-objective 2L- CVRPTW, with the application of Phi-functions for processing the geometry in loading constraint in an algebraic way.
2) Combine Phi function with the Column Generation to achieve efficient solution to a realistic 2L- CVRPTW, where soft time window will be considered.
3) Combine the Phi function with the Ant Colony Optimisation technique on a time dependent 2L- CVRPTW from the company by taking uncertain factors and more realistic constraints into consideration.

The successful algorithms for the time dependent vehicle routing problem with loading constraints should allow us to give integrated solutions to transportation problems. This case has been proposed by our industrial contact - Optrak Distribution Software Company (http://optrak.com). They specialise in Vehicle Routing Problems in food delivery. Since in some cases, there are hundreds of customers to be considered on the same day, the efficiency of truck loading/unloading and route choosing play the key role in distribution plan. Even slight improvement can reduce the transportation cost highly in the long run. We also anticipate an improvement in the speed that a good quality solution is found. To the best of our knowledge this feature is favoured by many commercial software companies. The student will benefit from this project by improving both the independent research ability and the ability of solving real life problems in an efficient way, which obviously will enhance the student’s opportunity to smoothly enter the job market afterwards.

Any special features (e.g., collaboration, industrial links, underpinning expertise, etc):
Industrial link: Optrak Distribution Software Company (http://optrak.com)

Research Project code: MPHY1871015 (please quote on the ’proposal’ section of the application form).

Full time/Part time: Full time

Starting arrangements: Ideally October 2015, however applications are considered all year round.

Further information: https://sites.google.com/site/drxiangsong/

Funding Notes

Expertise and skills needed:
1. Have some experience with C++ programming.
2. Be good at Operations Research.

Related Subjects

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