Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 167–176 | Cite as

Ant colonies for the quadratic assignment problem

Theoretical Paper


This paper presents HAS–QAP, a hybrid ant colony system coupled with a local search, applied to the quadratic assignment problem. HAS–QAP uses pheromone trail information to perform modifications on QAP solutions, unlike more traditional ant systems that use pheromone trail information to construct complete solutions. HAS–QAP is analysed and compared with some of the best heuristics available for the QAP: two versions of tabu search, namely, robust and reactive tabu search, hybrid genetic algorithm, and a simulated annealing method. Experimental results show that HAS–QAP and the hybrid genetic algorithm perform best on real world, irregular and structured problems due to their ability to find the structure of good solutions, while HAS–QAP performance is less competitive on random, regular and unstructured problems.


quadratic assignment problem ant colony optimisation ant systems meta-heuristics 


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Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IDSIA, LuganoSwitzerland
  2. 2.IRIDIA, UniversitÉ Libre de BruxellesBelgium

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