Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 128, Issue 1, pp 159–177

Building Better Nurse Scheduling Algorithms


  • Uwe Aickelin
    • University of Bradford
  • Paul White
    • University of the West of England

DOI: 10.1023/B:ANOR.0000019103.31340.a6

Cite this article as:
Aickelin, U. & White, P. Annals of Operations Research (2004) 128: 159. doi:10.1023/B:ANOR.0000019103.31340.a6


The aim of this research is twofold: Firstly, to model and solve a complex nurse scheduling problem with an integer programming formulation and evolutionary algorithms. Secondly, to detail a novel statistical method of comparing and hence build better scheduling algorithms by identifying successful algorithm modifications. The comparison method captures the results of algorithms in a single figure that can then be compared using traditional statistical techniques. Thus, the proposed method of comparing algorithms is an objective procedure designed to assist in the process of improving an algorithm. This is achieved even when some results are non-numeric or missing due to infeasibility. The final algorithm outperforms all previous evolutionary algorithms, which relied on human expertise for modification.

nurse schedulingevolutionary algorithmsinteger programmingstatistical comparison method
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004