An advanced tabu search approach to the airlift loading problem



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This dissertation details an algorithm to solve the Airlift Loading Problem (ALP). Given a set of cargo to be transported from an aerial port of embarkation to one or more aerial ports of debarkation, the ALP seeks to pack the cargo items onto pallets (if necessary), partition the set of cargo items into aircraft loads, select an efficient and effective set of aircraft from available aircraft, and to place the cargo in allowable positions on those aircraft. The ALP differs from most partitioning and packing problems described in the literature because, in addition to spatial constraints, factors such as allowable cabin load, balance, and temporal restrictions on cargo loading availability and cargo delivery requirements must be considered. While classical methods would be forced to attack such problems in a hierarchical fashion by solving a sequence of related subproblems, this research develops an algorithm to simultaneously solve the combined problem by employing an advanced tabu search approach.