A hybrid heuristic ordering and Variable Neighbourhood Search for the nurse rostering problem

Edmund Burke, Timothy Curtois, P. De Causmaecker, Gerhard F. Post, G. van den Berghe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

208 Downloads (Pure)


This paper is concerned with the development of intelligent decision support methodologies for nurse rostering problems in large modern hospital environments. We present an approach which hybridises heuristic ordering with variable neighbourhood search. We show that the search can be extended and the solution quality can be significantly improved by the careful combination and repeated use of heuristic ordering, variable neighbourhood search and backtracking. The amount of computational time that is allowed plays a significant role and we analyse and discuss this. The algorithms are evaluated against a commercial Genetic Algorithm on commercial data. We demonstrate that this methodology can significantly outperform the commercial algorithm. This paper is one of the few in the scientific nurse rostering literature which deal with commercial data and which compare against a commercially implemented algorithms.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationProceedings of The 5th international conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling
EditorsM.A. Trick, E.K. Burke
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2004
Event5th International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling, PATAT 2004 - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: 18 Aug 200420 Aug 2004
Conference number: 5


Conference5th International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling, PATAT 2004
Abbreviated titlePATAT 2004
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • METIS-219906
  • IR-48446

Cite this