Externally Funded Research Projects
School Choice and Allocation Mechanism in Bremen
We investigate the school admission mechanism for entering a secondary school (grade 5) in Bremen. Families indicate up to three public schools of choice (Oberschule and/or Gymnasium). A centralized procedure allocates available school places to students according to their preferences and taking school priorities into account. We analyze the currently used allocation mechanism as well as alternatives and evaluate their solutions based on various criteria.
This project is part of a larger initiative to rigorously investigate the school admission process in Bremen including a quantitative, algorithmic study of the allocation mechanism, a study of the influence of the mechanism on social segregation and social composition at schools, and the identification of school selection criteria of families in Bremen.
Project head: Nicole Megow
Project partners: Kerstin Schneider (U Wuppertal, Wuppertal Research Institute for the Economics of Education) and Michael Windzio (U Bremen, SOCIUM Research Center in Inequality and Social Policy)
Project term: 2021
Funded by: Senator for Children and Education, Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
Resource Allocation and Scheduling in the Hot Rolling Mill
Timely allocation of scarce resources is essential in many applications. Our group developed efficient methods for scheduling and managing resources in the hot rolling mill of the steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal Bremen. We optimized the grinding process of worn-out rolls which involves the selection of appropriate profiles needed for future rolling programs as well as the scheduling of the complex grinding tasks on several machines.
Shutdown and Turnaround Scheduling in Chemical Manufacturing
In this project we investigated the problem of scheduling large-scale maintenance in industrial plants that require the entire shutdown of production units for disassembly, comprehensive inspection, and renewal. We derived mathematical models and algorithms for this so-called turnaround scheduling that include different features such as time-cost trade-off, precedence constraints, external resource units, resource leveling, different working shifts, and risk analysis. A case study with real-world turnaround scheduling problems was carried out in cooperation with the management consulting company T.A. Cook Consultants and two of their customers at chemical manufacturing sites. Some of our methods have been succesfully integrated into SAP and MS Project Management software tools... More details can be found here and in our publication Decision Support and Optimization in Shutdown and Turnaround Scheduling (Informs J. on Computing, 2011).
Increasing Container Handling Efficiency at Port Botany
In this project we investigate the problem of operating a landside container exchange area that is serviced by multiple semi-automated rail mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) that are moving on a single bi-directional traveling lane. The gantry cranes are a scarce resource and handle the bulk of container movements. We develop algorithms to manage the container exchange facility, including the scheduling of cranes, the control of associated short-term container stacking, and the allocation of delivery locations for trucks and other container transporters. A computational evaluation shows that our methods can find effective solutions on real-world data (from Port Botany terminal in Sydney) that are at most 8% above a lower bound on optimal RMG utilization. Details can be found in our article Optimizing the Landside Operation of a Container Terminal.