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Beyond Smith's rule: An optimal dynamic index, rule for single machine stochastic scheduling with convex holding costs
Niño-Mora, José
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Most research on single machine scheduling has assumedthe linearity of job holding costs, which is arguablynot appropriate in some applications. This motivates ourstudy of a model for scheduling $n$ classes of stochasticjobs on a single machine, with the objective of minimizingthe total expected holding cost (discounted or undiscounted). We allow general holding cost rates that are separable,nondecreasing and convex on the number of jobs in eachclass. We formulate the problem as a linear program overa certain greedoid polytope, and establish that it issolved optimally by a dynamic (priority) index rule,whichextends the classical Smith's rule (1956) for the linearcase. Unlike Smith's indices, defined for each class, ournew indices are defined for each extended class, consistingof a class and a number of jobs in that class, and yieldan optimal dynamic index rule: work at each time on a jobwhose current extended class has larger index. We furthershow that the indices possess a decomposition property,as they are computed separately for each class, andinterpret them in economic terms as marginal expected cost rate reductions per unit of expected processing time.We establish the results by deploying a methodology recentlyintroduced by us [J. Niño-Mora (1999). "Restless bandits,partial conservation laws, and indexability. "Forthcomingin Advances in Applied Probability Vol. 33 No. 1, 2001],based on the satisfaction by performance measures of partialconservation laws (PCL) (which extend the generalizedconservation laws of Bertsimas and Niño-Mora (1996)):PCL provide a polyhedral framework for establishing theoptimality of index policies with special structure inscheduling problems under admissible objectives, which weapply to the model of concern.
Operations Management
stochastic scheduling
dynamic index rule
convex holding costs
conservation laws
achievable region
linear programming relaxation
polyhedral methods
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