Workflow scheduling using multi-agent systems in a dynamically changing environment

M. Merdan, T Moser, W. Sunindyo, S. Biffl, P. Vrba:
"Workflow scheduling using multi-agent systems in a dynamically changing environment";
Journal of Simulation,0(2012), 15 S.

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Abstract:


The application of intelligent agent technologies is considered a promising approach to improve system performance in
complex and changeable environments. Especially, in the case of unforeseen events, for example, machine breakdowns
that usually lead to a deviation from the initial production schedule, a multi-agent approach can be used to enhance
system flexibility and robustness. In this paper we apply this approach to revise and re-optimize the dynamic system
schedule in response to unexpected events. We employ Multi-Agent System simulation to optimize the total system
output (eg, number of finished products) for recovery from machine and/or conveyor failure cases. Diverse types of
failure classes (conveyor and machine failures), as well as duration of failures are used to test a range of dispatching
rules in combination with the All Rerouting re-scheduling policy, which showed supreme performance in our previous
studies. In this context, the Critical Ratio rule, which includes the transportation time into the calculation for the
selection of the next job, outperformed all other dispatching rules. We also analysed the impact of diverse simulation
parameters (such as number of pallets, class of conveyor failure and class of machine failure) on the system effectiveness.
Presented research also enlightens the economic interdependencies between the examined parameters and the benefits of
using the agent paradigm to minimize the impact of the disrupting events on the dynamic system.