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Reinforcement Learning Methods for Operations Research Applications: The Order Release Problem

  • Manuel SchneckenreitherEmail author
  • Stefan Haeussler
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11331)

Abstract

An important goal in Manufacturing Planning and Control systems is to achieve short and predictable flow times, especially where high flexibility in meeting customer demand is required. Besides achieving short flow times, one should also maintain high output and due-date performance. One approach to address this problem is the use of an order release mechanism which collects all incoming orders in an order-pool and thereafter determines when to release the orders to the shop-floor. A major disadvantage of traditional order release mechanisms is their inability to consider the nonlinear relationship between resource utilization and flow times which is well known from practice and queuing theory. Therefore, we propose a novel adaptive order release mechanism which utilizes deep reinforcement learning to set release times of the orders and provide several techniques for challenging operations research problems with reinforcement learning. We use a simulation model of a two-stage flow-shop and show that our approach outperforms well-known order release mechanism.

Keywords

Operations research Production planning Order release Machine learning Reinforcement learning 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information Systems, Production and Logistics ManagementUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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