Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 279–288 | Cite as

Solving the multi-objective nurse scheduling problem with a weighted cost function

  • D. Parr
  • J. M. Thompson


The primary objective of the nurse scheduling problem is to ensure there are sufficient nurses on each shift. There are also a number of secondary objectives designed to make the schedule more pleasant. Neighbourhood search implementations use a weighted cost function with the weights dependent on the importance of each objective. Setting the weights on binding constraints so they are satisfied but still allow the search to find good solutions is difficult. This paper compares two methods for overcoming this problem, SAWing and Noising with simulated annealing and demonstrates that Noising produces better schedules.


Nurse scheduling Meta-heuristic Simulated annealing SAWing Noising 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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