• Automatic detection of the best performing priority rule for the resource-constrained project scheduling problem

      Guo, Weikang; Vanhoucke, Mario; Coelho, José; Luo, Jingyu (Expert Systems with Applications, 2021)
      Priority rules are applied in many commercial software tools for scheduling projects under limited resources because of their known advantages such as the ease of implementation, their intuitive working, and their fast speed. Moreover, while numerous research papers present comparison studies between different priority rules, managers often do not know which rules should be used for their specific project, and therefore have no other choice than selecting a priority rule at random and hope for the best. This paper introduces a decision tree approach to classify and detect the best performing priority rule for the resource-constrained project scheduling problem (RCPSP). The research relies on two classification models to map project indicators onto the performance of the priority rule. Using such models, the performance of each priority rule can be predicted, and these predictions are then used to automatically select the best performing priority rule for a specific project with known network and resource indicator values. A set of computational experiment is set up to evaluate the performance of the newly proposed classification models using the most well-known priority rules from the literature. The experiments compare the performance of multi-label classification models with multi-class classification models, and show that these models can outperform the average performance of using any single priority rule. It will be argued that this approach can be easily extended to any extension of the RCPSP without changing the methodology used in this study.