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A novel algorithm based on the unified neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography model for block allocation of outbound container

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Block allocation problem (BAP) is the key part of container terminal management. To make full use of the limited yard resources and to reduce the turnaround and transportation time, this paper focuses on the objectives of BAP offering multiple work ways, avoiding loading or collecting containers at the same time, and minimising the total distance between the berths and the blocks. The solution of BAP is similar to the model that individuals choose proper islands to live in the unified neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography (UNTBB). The difficulty lies on that the UNTBB model is a complicated stochastic process. A novel algorithm based on the modified UNTBB model is proposed. Based on this modified UNTBB model, this paper proposed a grouping strategy to reduce the solution set. To guarantee the consecutive container groups not to put in the same block and to assure a consecutive and parallel loading process, a strategy that kills any one of the species existing prey relationship is put forward. Moreover, a greedy strategy is constructed to select an island to accelerate the ecological balance among islands. All these strategies are included into UNTBB to make ecological selection more instructive and faster. The optimal solution in the modified UNTBB model is the optimisation result of the BAP. The experiments show that the novel algorithm proposed in this paper achieves a better performance than the other conventional methods.
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Keywords: block allocation; container terminal; greedy strategy; grouping strategy; the neutral theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Computer, Wuhan University, Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China

Publication date: June 3, 2014

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