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Decision Support for Engineering Systems


Models, Methods and Tools for Decision Support of Designing and Scheduling for the Engineering Systems with Parallel and Series Structure

Tech Area / Field

  • MAN-MPS/Manufacturing, Planning, Processing and Control/Manufacturing Technology
  • INF-SOF/Software/Information and Communications
  • MAN-COM/CAD and CAM/Manufacturing Technology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Alexandrov K A

Leading Institute
National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus / Institute of Informatics Problems, Belarus, Minsk


  • CNRS / Universite Joseph Fourier / Instutit National Politechnique de Grenoble / Laboratoire Leibniz - Institut IMAG, France, Grenoble\nTU Bergakademie Freiberg / Institut für Informatik, Germany, Freiburg\nInstitut National Polytechniques de Lorraine / Ecole des Mines de Nancy, France, Nancy\nChristian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel / Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre, Germany, Kiel\nUniversität Siegen / Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsinformatik, Germany, Siegen\nPolitecnico di Torino, Italy, Torino\nUniversity of Southampton, UK, Southampton

Project summary

The Project’s Purpose. The objective of the Project is to develop methods, techniques and software for decision support of designing and scheduling for the engineering systems with parallel and series structure. The Project is based on the results of the ISTC Project B-104 “Optimization Methods and Tools for Design, Control and Management in Engineering Systems” and will use wide experience obtained during joint work with the collaborators. The main subject areas of the project are: 1) design of manufacturing processes for production systems with parallel and series processing; 2) scheduling for manufacturing processes with parallel and series structure and for supply chains; and 3) high-level design of logical control devices on the base of parallel and asynchronous algorithms.

The State of the Art in the Field. Engineering systems with parallel and series structure are typical for many industries (machine-building and electronic industry, metallurgy, chemical and pharmaceutic industry, etc). The complexity and the cost of such systems is permanently growing with simultaneous improving of performance features. The existing methods and tools are not capable to solve the problems arising in optimal design and control of the systems. Therefore, the development of such tools is not only an innovative subject, but also has a wide range of real-world applications.

One of the research subjects of the Project is designing multiposition production lines. Exact and heuristic methods for assigning of operations to workstations of assembly line (assembly line balancing) are well known. However, these methods cannot be used for solving the line balancing problem taking into account both parallel executing of operations at the same workstation and potential machining modes.

One of the most important tools to optimize functioning of engineering systems is scheduling, which is defined as an optimal allocation of scarce resources to activities over time. Existing methods do not provide satisfactory scheduling decisions which concern all aspects of optimal organization, planning and functioning of modern manufacturing systems with parallel and series structure. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the supply chain paradigm, which is a pivotal idea to increase the productivity of modern production systems.

Another research subject of the Project is designing logical control devices by using CAD systems. The means for transformation of the behavior descriptions in such systems based on VHDL (a standard language for this area) are not sufficient. In particular, they should contain tools for checking and ensuring correctness and for optimization transformations of the descriptions. Moreover, the known CAD systems do not supply designers with the proper means to solve complicated combinatorial optimization problems arising at the logic stage of design.

The Impact of the Proposed Project on the Progress in the Field. There will be proposed new approaches to solving some classes of optimal design and control problems that arise in decision making for the above mentioned engineering systems with parallel and series structure. For the multiposition production lines, there will be investigated new methods and techniques for optimizing layout and parameters of the lines. It results in decreasing the cost equipment without worsening performance features. New scheduling models and methods to be proposed in the Project are oriented on fitting for the optimal functioning of engineering systems that is determined by such criteria as low maintenance costs, maximal load of the equipment, satisfaction of environmental and safety restrictions and adequate service for the customers. The new methodology of the circuit implementation of parallel control algorithms will be based on the synthesized subset of VHDL. This will allow the designer to represent the information on a designed device behavior at the higher level than binary one. As a result, the control of the resources of a digital systems including supercomputers can be improved significantly. Discrete optimization mathematical models and methods to be developed in the Project are of interest in itself and can be used for optimal design of other engineering systems.

Competence of the Project Team. Project team includes 12 participants each of them having great experience in developing models, methods and tools for decision support systems in engineering and management. Among them, there are six Doctors (Hab.) of Sciences (including one Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus) and five Candidates of Sciences. They have published 21 monographs (among them 4 in USA and Western Europe) and more than 700 papers (including more than 300 in International Journals and Proceedings). They have created a number of software optimization packages and decision support systems for design of mechanical constructions and logical control devices. Most of the participants were involved in the ISTC Project B-104 finished in 2001. The results were published in 3 monographs and 91 papers including 11 in the International Journals and 67 in the Proceedings of the International Conferences. There were created prototypes and software components of the systems for decision making at the initial stage of design of multiunit mechanical transmissions and for design of circuits implementing parallel algorithms of logical control.

Expected Results and Their Application. The expected results of the Project are methods and computer integrated tools for the design and optimal functioning of engineering systems with parallel and series structure. These results will be further expansion of the models and methods developed in the ISTC Project B-104 concerning the mentioned class of systems.

There will be developed mathematical models and special methods for assigning of operations to workstations and spindle heads with optimization of machining modes for paced multiposition production lines. There will be created software and a prototype of decision support system for optimal designing manufacturing processes at paced multiposition production lines. The results are planned to be used at Minsk and Baranovichi transfer line plants.

Mathematical models and corresponding algorithms will be developed for scheduling a supply chain that includes supplying of row materials, intermediate item manufacturing and final assembly. The models and algorithms will be focused on providing a coordinated decision that will minimize the costs of all parts of the chain. A relation between supply chain scheduling and scheduling with transportation constraints will be established. Computational complexity and properties of optimal scheduling solutions for single and parallel machine processing systems with due date assignment, resource dependent setup and processing times will be established, and efficient exact and approximate algorithms will be derived. For scheduling with uncertain machine availability intervals and/or uncertain job processing times, lower and upper bounds for these parameters will be found such that a schedule is optimal for any its values. Application area is optimal planning for batch processing systems and systems with group technology constraints.

Effective linguistic means will be suggested for description and investigation of complex multi-agent systems with components of two types: logical control devices and various controlled objects. Methods for checking and ensuring correctness of the interaction between components of such systems and corresponding logical control will be developed, both on syntactic and semantic levels. Efficient methods for optimal software and hardware implementation of parallel algorithms for logical control will be developed. In particular, these methods can be used in design of control units for supercomputer. The prototype of an integrated system for high-level design of parallel logical control devices will be created for using in electronic industry of Belarus.

Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives. Project activities are in compliance with the ISTC objectives and targets because their implementation will provide: a) an opportunity for ten specialists earlier involved in the development of missiles technologies to redirect their professional skills and knowledge to solving problems related with designing engineering systems for peaceful purpose; b) creating intellectual products in the form of models, methods, algorithms and tools contributed to the solution of engineering problems important for Belarus and world community; c) the results that form a basis for developing marketable products oriented to civil needs and to potential end-consumers; and d) a possibility for weapons scientists to integrate into the international scientific community in the area of discrete optimization and the theory of decision support systems.

Scope of Activities. The main tasks of the project are: a) development of mathematical models for objects and processes of design, control and management in engineering systems with parallel and series structure; b) development of methods for finding optimal design, control and management decisions on the basis of these models; c) development of algorithms and experimental software to implement these methods; e) creation of prototypes of subject-oriented systems for making design and control decisions, which are based on the developed software.

The following sections of the Project may be determined: A) Decision support system for multiposition manufacturing processes; B) Production line and supply chain scheduling; and C) Implementation of logical control algorithms in modern VLSI element base.

Role of Foreign Collaborators. The principal role of the collaborators consists in the following: joint efforts to problems formulation and to the search of approaches to their solution; joint discussion of the models and requirements to methods, algorithms and software; consultations on the sources of literature that are relevant to the project; evaluation of intermediate and final results; participation in monitoring of project activities by indication of the possible ways of project evolution; joint participation in the international conferences, conduction of joint seminars and workshops.

Collaborators will be provided with the following information on the project: description of models and methods for solving problems; technical reports, submitted by project participants to the ISTC; publications on the project results; description of the developed software. Possible ways of collaboration are exchange of information, consultations, joint publications and attendance to international meetings, shared activities aimed at delivering project results to the market.

Technical Approach and Methodology. The project objectives will be ensured by the system approach to the problems, by developing the system of integrated and coordinated mathematical models, and by generality of utilized and developed techniques. When implementing project, there will be used: methodology and mathematical methods of operations research (nonlinear, dynamic and discrete programming; methods of graph optimization and scheduling theory; metaheuristics and methods of adaptive search; methods of multicriteria optimization; decomposition methods of optimization problems); discrete mathematics (graph theory, Boolean functions and finite predicates theory, Petri net theory, methods of logical conclusion, etc.); theory of computational complexity of algorithms; the existing approaches and techniques for analysis and estimation of project and management decisions at various design stages; the theory of decision support systems.

An adaptation of known methods taking into account the special features of the problem will be done. Besides, special methods will be developed, which are based on specific character of the problems and take into account their dimension, complexity, real requirements to accuracy and speed as well as specifications of computers. Heuristic engineering methods based on an experience and modern trends in design and control in the considered applied areas will be utilized. Software that will be worked out within the project will be written in C++ language for PC Pentium and partly for supercomputer.


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ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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