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Nurse Scheduling by Cooperative GA with Effective Mutation Operator
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems Vol.E95-D No.7 pp.1830-1838
Publication Date: 2012/07/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Fundamentals of Information Systems
cooperative genetic algorithm,
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In this paper, we propose an effective mutation operators for Cooperative Genetic Algorithm (CGA) to be applied to a practical Nurse Scheduling Problem (NSP). The nurse scheduling is a very difficult task, because NSP is a complex combinatorial optimizing problem for which many requirements must be considered. In real hospitals, the schedule changes frequently. The changes of the shift schedule yields various problems, for example, a fall in the nursing level. We describe a technique of the reoptimization of the nurse schedule in response to a change. The conventional CGA is superior in ability for local search by means of its crossover operator, but often stagnates at the unfavorable situation because it is inferior to ability for global search. When the optimization stagnates for long generation cycle, a searching point, population in this case, would be caught in a wide local minimum area. To escape such local minimum area, small change in a population should be required. Based on such consideration, we propose a mutation operator activated depending on the optimization speed. When the optimization stagnates, in other words, when the optimization speed decreases, the mutation yields small changes in the population. Then the population is able to escape from a local minimum area by means of the mutation. However, this mutation operator requires two well-defined parameters. This means that user have to consider the value of these parameters carefully. To solve this problem, we propose a periodic mutation operator which has only one parameter to define itself. This simplified mutation operator is effective over a wide range of the parameter value.