Due to software platform change, Optrak is the the unusual potion of being able to create one or more new optimisation "engines" for general purpose use in its commercial vehicle routing software. Obviously we are faced with a wide variety of different techniques that we could employ.
Such an engine would have to be sufficiently robust to deal with a large number of different problems, although most of our work involves some combination of:
- complex scheduling (time-of-day varying travel speeds, multi-day, multi- and soft time window, driver breaks legislation etc).
- packing (i.e. combined routing and packing)
- heterogenous, often fixed fleet
- option to leave some jobs to external carriers (prize)
Parts of the system already exist (in Java) - importantly including the scheduler and the different loading modules (packing) but a limiting characteristic of approach is the fact that these are expensive operations computationally and our users are impatient (10 minutes is a maximum solution time for daily routing) although there may be opportunities for some parallelization via some like Google or Amazon cloud instances.
We envisage collaboration could take one of several forms, for example:
1. You simply want a chat to promote your favourite solution.
2. You make use of our APIs (Scala or Java) to test your own algorithms on real world data thus helping us assess their effectiveness.
3. You wish to collaborate in some form of meta-study - helping us categorize and publish data sets and measure the results of different techniques within a consistent framework.
4. You would like to supply us with code under some form of licensing arrangement.
You will need to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and maintain confidentiality with respect to Optrak's IP and customer-derived data sets. However, we recognise the need for publishing and would impose as few constraints on this as possible.
If you are interested please contact me directly - I am at Verolog today and will also be at Euro in Glasgow in July.
Although this could be something of an open-ended project in terms of duration, we also need some short-term results so in discussing this, we would expect some indication of resources and commitment on your part.
Optrak Distribution Software Limited