3 years ago

Aggregating courier deliveries

Shane G. Henderson, Patrick R. Steele, David B. Shmoys


We consider the problem of efficiently scheduling deliveries by an uncapacitated courier from a central location under online arrivals. We consider both adversary‐controlled and Poisson arrival processes. In the adversarial setting we provide a randomized (3βΔ/2δ − 1)‐competitive algorithm, where β is the approximation ratio of the traveling salesman problem, δ is the minimum distance between the central location and any customer, and Δ is the length of the optimal traveling salesman tour overall customer locations and the central location. We provide instances showing that this analysis is tight. We also prove a 1 + 0.271Δ/δ lower‐bound on the competitive ratio of any algorithm in this setting. In the Poisson setting, we relax our assumption of deterministic travel times by assuming that travel times are distributed with a mean equal to the excursion length. We prove that optimal policies in this setting follow a threshold structure and describe this structure. For the half‐line metric space we bound the performance of the randomized algorithm in the Poisson setting, and show through numerical experiments that the performance of the algorithm is often much better than this bound.

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