An Efficient Route Minimization Algorithm for the Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Windows Based on Agent Negotiation
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We present an efficient route minimization algorithm for the vehicle routing problem with time windows. The algorithm uses a generic agent decomposition of the problem featuring a clear separation between the local planning performed by the individual vehicles and the abstract global coordination achieved by negotiation — differentiating the presented algorithm from the traditional centralized algorithms. Novel negotiation semantics is introduced on the global coordination planning level allowing customers to be temporarily ejected from the emerging solution being constructed. This allows the algorithm to efficiently backtrack in situations when the currently processed customer cannot be feasibly allocated to the emerging solution. Over the relevant widely-used benchmarks the algorithm equals the best known solutions achieved by the centralized algorithms in 90.7% of the cases with an overall relative error of 0.3%, outperforming the previous comparable agent-based algorithms.
Keywordsmulti-agent systems logistics optimization VRPTW
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