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Keywords:

  • intelligent systems;
  • job-shop scheduling problem;
  • genetic algorithms;
  • path relinking;
  • scheduling

Abstract

The job-shop scheduling problem (JSSP) is considered one of the most difficult NP-hard problems. Numerous studies in the past have shown that as exact methods for the problem solution are intractable, even for small problem sizes, efficient heuristic algorithms must achieve a good balance between the well-known themes of exploitation and exploration of the vast search space. In this paper, we propose a new hybrid parallel genetic algorithm with specialized crossover and mutation operators utilizing path-relinking concepts from combinatorial optimization approaches and tabu search in particular. The new scheme relies also on the recently introduced concepts of solution backbones for the JSSP in order to intensify the search in promising regions. We compare the resulting algorithm with a number of state-of-the-art approaches for the JSSP on a number of well-known test-beds; the results indicate that our proposed genetic algorithm compares fairly well with some of the best-performing genetic algorithms for the problem.