Bi-objective multi-assignment capacitated location-allocation problem

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Virginia Tech

Optimization problems of location-assignment correspond to a wide range of real situations, such as factory network design. However most of the previous works seek in most cases at minimizing a cost function. Traffic incidents routinely impact the performance and the safety of the supply. These incidents can not be totally avoided and must be regarded. A way to consider these incidents is to design a network on which multiple assignments are performed.

Precisely, the problem we focus on deals with power supplying that has become a more and more complex and crucial question. Many international companies have customers who are located all around the world; usually one customer per country. At the other side of the scale, power extraction or production is done in several sites that are spread on several continents and seas. A strong willing of becoming less energetically-dependent has lead many governments to increase the diversity of supply locations. For each kind of energy, many countries expect to deal ideally with 2 or 3 location sites. As a decrease in power supply can have serious consequences for the economic performance of a whole country, companies prefer to balance equally the production rate among all sites as the reliability of all the sites is considered to be very similar. Sharing equally the demand between the 2 or 3 sites assigned to a given area is the most common way. Despite the cost of the network has an importance, it is also crucial to balance the loading between the sites to guarantee that no site would take more importance than the others for a given area. In case an accident happens in a site or in case technical problems do not permit to satisfy the demand assigned to the site, the overall power supply of this site is still likely to be ensured by the one or two available remaining site(s). It is common to assign a cost per open power plant and another cost that depends on the distance between the factory or power extraction point and the customer. On the whole, such companies who are concerned in the quality service of power supply have to find a good trade-off between this factor and their overall functioning cost. This situation exists also for companies who supplies power at the national scale. The expected number of areas as well that of potential sites, can reach 100. However the targeted size of problem to be solved is 50.

This thesis focuses on devising an efficient methodology to provide all the solutions of this bi-objective problem. This proposal is an investigation of close problems to delimit the most relevant approaches to this untypical problem. All this work permits us to present one exact method and an evolutionary algorithm that might provide a good answer to this problem.

load balance, multiobjective optimization evolutionary algorithm, Bi-objective combinatorial optimization