The Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) software system, aspects of which have been reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, includes a subsystem that utilizes a portfolio of heuristic algorithms that work synergistically to solve problems. The nature of the synergy of the specific algorithms is that their likelihoods of success are negatively correlated: that is, when a combination of them is used to solve a problem, the probability that at least one of them will succeed is greater than the sum of probabilities of success of the individual algorithms operating independently of each other. In ASPEN, the portfolio of algorithms is used in a planning process of the iterative repair type, in which conflicts are detected and addressed one at a time until either no conflicts exist or a user-defined time limit has been exceeded. At each choice point (e.g., selection of conflict; selection of method of resolution of conflict; or choice of move, addition, or deletion) ASPEN makes a stochastic choice of a combination of algorithms from the portfolio. This approach makes it possible for the search to escape from looping and from solutions that are locally but not globally optimum.

This program was written by Robert Sherwood, Russell Knight, Gregg Rabideau, Steve Chien, Daniel Tran, and Barbara Engelhardt of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-30379.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Using a Portfolio of Algorithms for Planning and Scheduling

(reference NPO-30379) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2003 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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