Sequencing: The Shortest Processing Time Rule

  • Kenneth R. Baker
  • Dartmouth College
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 115)

The problem of sequencing arises frequently in many areas of business and engineering. Shortest-first sequencing (or one of its variants) has proven to be optimal in a number of problem areas.


Thanks to a day's exposure at the annual professional conference, Alison has received four requests for design work. Based on her experience, she can estimate how long it would take her to deliver each design, noting that some of the jobs were short ones and others were longer. In addition, Alison's working style is to focus on one job at a time, postponing any thought about the others until the current one is finished. Nevertheless, as she thinks about the situation, she realizes that her four customers will get different impressions of her responsiveness depending on the order in which she completes the designs. In other words, it seems to make a difference what sequence she chooses for the jobs.

What is Alison's Sequencing Problem?

Let's start by acknowledging that Alison is...


Schedule Problem Completion Time Sequencing Problem Average Inventory Total Tardiness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Selected Bibliography

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth R. Baker
  • Dartmouth College

There are no affiliations available

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