Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jun Zhang

Abstract

In this dissertation, we focus on solving forest transportation planning related problems, including constraints that consider negative environmental impacts and multi-objective optimizations that provide forest managers and road planers alternatives for making informed decisions. Along this line of study, several multilevel techniques and mataheuristic algorithms have been developed and investigated. The forest transportation planning problem is a fixed-charge problem and known to be NP-hard. The general idea of utilizing multilevel approach is to solve the original problem of which the computational cost maybe prohibitive by using a set of increasingly smaller problems of which the computational cost is cheaper.

The multilevel techniques are devised consisting of two parts. The first part is to recursively apply a graph coarsening heuristic to the original problem to produce a set of coarser level problems of which the sizes in terms of number of problem components such as edges and nodes are in decreasing order. The second part is to solve the set of the coarser level problems including the original problem bottom up, starting with the coarsest level. We propose that if coarser level problems inherit important properties (such as attribute value distribution) from their ancestor during the coarsening process, they can be treated as smaller versions of the original problem. Based on this hypothesis, the multilevel techniques use solutions obtained for the coarser level problems to solve the finer level problems.

Mainly, we develop multilevel techniques to address three problems, namely a constrained fixed-charge problem, parameter configuration problem, and a multi-objective transportation optimization problem in this study. The performance of the multilevel techniques is compared with other commonly used approaches. The statistical analyses on the experimental results indicate that the multilevel approach can reduce computing time significantly without sacrificing the solution quality.

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