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Micro-Boss: A Micro-opportunistic Factory Scheduler
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
posted on 01.01.1993by Norman Sadeh
In a global market economy, the need for cost-efficient production management techniques is
becoming more critical every day. In contrast with this need, current production management
practice is too often characterized by low levels of due date satisfaction, high levels of inventory
and, more generally, a state of chaos, in which the computer systems that are used to provide
managerial guidance do not accurately reflect the current state of affairs, as they rely on
oversimplified and rigid models of the production environment. A major challenge for research
in this area is to develop new production management techniques and tools that (1) can account
more precisely for actual production management constraints and objectives, (2) are better suited
for handling production contingencies, and (3) allow the user to interactively manipulate the
production schedule to reflect idiosyncratic constraints and preferences not easily amenable to
representation in the computer model. This paper describes Micro-Boss, a decision-support
system for factory scheduling currently under development at Carnegie Mellon University.
Micro-Boss aims at generating and maintaining high-quality realistic production schedules by
combining powerful predictive, reactive and interactive scheduling capabilities. To this end, the
system relies on so-called micro-opportunistic search techniques that enable the scheduling
system to constantly revise its scheduling strategy during the construction or repair of a schedule.
These techniques are shown to be more effective than less flexible scheduling techniques
proposed in the Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence literature.