Optimisation (heuristic and classical)
Plant Propagation Algorithms:
We have recently introduced a new algorithm that mimics the process by which certain plants propagate. The propagation approach of a particular plant, the strawberry plant, has been simulated. Tests on continuous optimisation problems with box-type constraints have been carried out and show competitive results with, for instance, the Artificial Bee Colony algorithm. Limited tests have also been carried out on a multi-objective optimisation problem arising in Chemical Engineering, with good results.
The Strawberry Algorithm has been presented in the seminar series of a number of departments in the UK and abroad including the Department of Mathematical Sciences of Essex University, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Greenwich University, and the Department of Mathematics, Brunel University as well as a number or universities in Indonesia such as Unisba, Ahmad Dahal, Pekanbaru Riau, and Pekanbaru Negeri universities, and others. A basic description with early results can be found in:
Salhi, A. and Fraga, E.S, Nature-Inspired Optimisation Approaches and the New Plant Propagation Algorithm, Proceedings of the ICeMATH2011, pp. K2-1 to K2-8, 2011.
Results on large size benchmark problems have been obtained recently with an advanced implementation of the algorithm.
The algorithm has also been extended to handle discrete problems. Miss Jiao Xu, my 3rd Year Project student this year, has implemented it in Matlab to solve the TSP and Knapsack problems. Tests on TSP problems of over a 100 cities have been obtained. These results are competitive with those obtained on the same set of problems with the Genetic Algorithm and Simulated Annealing. Note that Miss Oz Toreyen, who visited me in March 2012, had a go at implementing PPA for TSP as well. She managed to solve 100 city TSP problems. If you are interested in this algorithm, I might be able to send you the Matlab code.
Project on Optimum Labour Scheduling in Container Ports:
The project co-sponsored by TSB now InnovateUK and the Port of Felixstowe is drawing to an end. It officially started on the 3rd of June 2013. I am the PI; Dr John Ford and Prof. Qingfu Zhang are the Co-I's. Ali Rais Shaghaghi is the Research Assistant. On the PoF side, Tom Corkhill and Stephen Peck are our collaborators on the project. The project is over two years.
If you want to know more about it, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest Paper Out:
A paper we submitted in 2009 has just been accepted for publication in Memetic Computing. It has only been revised once. The paper, co-authored with one of my ex-PhD students, Dr Jose Antonio Vazquez Rodriguez, is called Tailoring hyper-heuristics to specific instances of a scheduling problem using affinity and competence functions, (2013); DOI 10.1007/s12293-013-0121-7. The paper explores, for the first time we believe, a very good idea that is generic; all problems for which we have many alternative solution algorithms/heuristics, and no distinct favourite, may be approached in this way. Let me know if you want to know more. For those wanting a more general treatment of this idea, please look at:
Salhi, A., The Ultimate Solution Approach to Intractable Problems, Proceedings of ICMSA2010, pp.84-93, 2010.
The Mpemba Effect Explained:
This is a conundrum bugging scientists for decades, I should say millenia! Find about it and an explanation here.