Progress control in iterated local search for nurse rostering

E.K. Burke, T. Curtois, L. Fijn van Draat, J.-K. van Ommeren, G. Post*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes an approach in which a local search technique is alternated with a process which ‘jumps’ to another point in the search space. After each ‘jump’ a (time-intensive) local search is used to obtain a new local optimum. The focus of the paper is in monitoring the progress of this technique on a set of real world nurse rostering problems. We propose a model for estimating the quality of this new local optimum. We can then decide whether to end the local search based on the predicted quality. The fact that we avoid searching these bad neighbourhoods enables us to reach better solutions in the same amount of time. We evaluate the approach on five highly constrained problems in nurse rostering. These problems represent complex and challenging real world rostering situations and the approach described here has been developed during a commercial implementation project by ORTEC bv.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-367
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event6th International Conference on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling, PATAT 2006 - Brno, Czech Republic
Duration: 30 Aug 20061 Sept 2006
Conference number: 6


  • Local search
  • Nurse rostering
  • Iterated local search


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