Chance-Constrained Multiple Bin Packing Problem with an Application to Operating Room Planning

Shanshan Wang, Jinlin Li, Sanjay Mehrotra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

We study the chance-constrained bin packing problem, with an application to hospital operating room planning. The bin packing problem allocates items of random sizes that follow a discrete distribution to a set of bins with limited capacity, while minimizing the total cost. The bin capacity constraints are satisfied with a given probability. We investigate a big-M and a 0-1 bilinear formulation of this problem. We analyze the bilinear structure of the formulation and use the lifting techniques to identify cover, clique, and projection inequalities to strengthen the formulation. We show that in certain cases these inequalities are facet-defining for a bilinear knapsack constraint that arises in the reformulation. An extensive computational study is conducted for the operating room planning problem that minimizes the number of open operating rooms. The computational tests are performed using problems generated based on real data from a hospital. A lowerbound improvement heuristic is combined with the cuts proposed in this paper in a branch-and-cut framework. The computations illustrate that the techniques developed in this paper can significantly improve the performance of the branch-and-cut method. Problems with up to 1,000 scenarios are solved to optimality in less than an hour. A safe approximation based on conditional value at risk (CVaR) is also solved. The computations show that the CVaR approximation typically leaves a gap of one operating room (e.g., six instead of five) to satisfy the chance constraint. Summary of Contribution: This paper investigates a branch-and-cut algorithm for a chance-constrained bin packing problem with multiple bins. The chance-constrained bin packing provides a modeling framework for applied operations research problems, such as health care, scheduling, and so on. This paper studies alternative computational approaches to solve this problem. Moreover, this paper uses real data from a hospital operating room planning setting as an application to test the algorithmic ideas. This work, therefore, is at the intersection of computing and operations research. Several interesting ideas are developed and studied. These include a strengthened big-M reformulation, analysis of a bilinear reformulation, and identifying certain facet-defining inequalities for this formulation. This paper also gives a lower-bound generation heuristic for a model that minimizes the number of bins. Computational experiments for an operating room planning model that uses data from a hospital demonstrate the computational improvement and importance of the proposed approaches. The techniques proposed in this paper and computational experiments further enhance the interface of computing and operations research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1661-1677
Number of pages17
JournalINFORMS Journal on Computing
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bilinear integer program
  • bin packing
  • branch-and-cut
  • chance-constrained stochastic programming
  • operating room planning
  • valid inequalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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