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A dynamic programming operator for metaheuristics to solve vehicle routing problems with optional visits

Abstract : Metaheuristics are problem independent optimisation techniques. As such, they do not take advantage of any specificity of the problem and, therefore, can provide general frameworks that may be applied to many problem classes. These iterative upper level methodologies can furnish a guiding strategy in designing subordinate heuristics to solve specific optimisation problems. Their use in many applications shows their efficiency and effectiveness to solve large and complex problems. Nowadays, metaheuristics applied to the solution of optimisation problems have shifted towards integrating other optimisation techniques, so that solution methods benefit from the advantages each offers. This thesis seeks to contribute to the study of vehicle routing problems with optional visits by providing a dynamic programming-based operator that works embedded into a generic metaheuristic. The operator retrieves the optimal tour of customers to visit, satisfying the side constraints of the problem, while optimising the defined objective. The operator formulates the problem of selecting the best customers to visit as a Resource Constrained Elementary Shortest Path Problem on an auxiliary directed acyclic graph where the side restrictions of the problem considered act as the constraining resource. In vehicle routing problems with optional visits, the customers to serve are not known a priori and this fact leaves a more difficult to solve problem than a classic routing problem, which per se is already NP-hard. Routing problems with optional visits find application in multiple and diverse areas such as bimodal distribution design, humanitarian logistics, health care delivery, tourism, recruitment, hot rolling production, selected collection or delivery, and urban patrolling among others
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Leticia Gloria Vargas Suarez. A dynamic programming operator for metaheuristics to solve vehicle routing problems with optional visits. Automatic. INSA de Toulouse, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016ISAT0027⟩. ⟨tel-01355746v2⟩

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