Dec 5, 2023

AI approach offers solutions to tricky optimization problems, from global package routing to power grid operation

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI

While Santa Claus may have a magical sleigh and nine plucky reindeer to help him deliver presents, for companies like FedEx, the optimization problem of efficiently routing holiday packages is so complicated that they often employ specialized software to find a solution.

This software, called a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) solver, splits a massive optimization problem into and uses generic algorithms to try and find the best solution. However, the solver could take hours—or even days—to arrive at a solution.

The process is so onerous that a company often must stop the software partway through, accepting a solution that is not ideal but the best that could be generated in a set amount of time.

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