Evolving dispatching rules using genetic programming for solving multi-objective flexible job-shop problems


We solve the multi-objective flexible job-shop problems by using dispatching rules discovered through genetic programming. While Simple Priority Rules have been widely applied in practice, their efficacy remains poor due to lack of a global view. Composite dispatching rules have been shown to be more effective as they are constructed through human experience. In this paper, we evaluate and employ suitable parameter and operator spaces for evolving composite dispatching rules using genetic programming, with an aim towards greater scalability and flexibility. Experimental results show that composite dispatching rules generated by our genetic programming framework outperforms the single dispatching rules and composite dispatching rules selected from literature over five large validation sets with respect to minimum makespan, mean tardiness, and mean flow time objectives. Further results on sensitivity to changes (in coefficient values and terminals among the evolved rules) indicate that their designs are robust.