A hybrid AI approach to staff scheduling
Winstanley, G. (2003) A hybrid AI approach to staff scheduling In: Bramer, M., Preece, A. and Coenen, F., eds. Research and development in intelligent systems XIX: proceedings of the 22nd SGAI international conference on knowledge based systems and applied artificial intelligence, Cambridge, UK, December 2002. BCS conference series . Springer-Verlag, London, UK, pp. 367-380. ISBN 1852336749
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Assigning nursing staff to specific duties according to their contract, qualifications, skills, etc. within a working environment characterised by multi-disciplinarity and statutory regulations is problematic. Factors involved in making effective assignments include individual and corporate procedures, guidelines and constraints. Manual rostering commonly proceeds through a process of reasoning in which a number of consecutive stages occur to progressively refine and repair the work schedule. This paper discusses an approach to nurse rostering, using a strategy of distributing the computational effort required in the scheduling process. The technique involves a hybrid approach that devolves responsibility for different aspects of the problem to a heuristic component and a constraint solver. In the pre-processing stage, the staff to be rostered are treated as semi-autonomous agents, each with individual responsibility for their initial assignment, and communicating with a global constraint satisfaction agent. This has proved to be intuitive to build and effective in use.
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