# Intelligent Scheduling with Reinforcement Learning

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Literature Review

#### 2.1. Scheduling Problems

- Flow shop—All tasks are the same, making all operations have a uniform order of passage through the machines. The tasks are always executed in a specific order, requiring only the decision of the start of each operation’s production.
- Job Shop—Each task has its own specific operations, thus allowing the existence of different tasks. The operations of each task have a predefined order that must be respected. The order of the operations can be different from task to task.
- Open Shop—There are no ordering constraints, i.e., each operation of a task can be executed on any machine at any time.

#### 2.2. Job Shop Problem

- Date of completion
- greatest delay;
- sum of delays and advances (tasks completed ahead of schedule);
- total number of tardy jobs.

- Travel time
- (task) travel time;
- average travel time;
- maximum travel time;

- System usage
- machine usage;
- system usage, i.e., average utilization of each machine.

#### 2.3. Machine Learning

#### 2.4. Reinforcement Learning

## 3. Problem Formulation

## 4. Scheduling System with Reinforcement Learning

#### 4.1. Methodology

#### 4.2. Proposed Architecture

## 5. Computational Study

#### 5.1. Efficiency Analysis

^{−16}so we reject the null hypothesis and can conclude that there significant differences between the runtime algorithms considered. In order to detect pairwise runtime algorithms that have a significant difference we conduct a Nemenyi test [64] and we got the pairwise p-values shown on Table 1.

#### 5.2. Quality of Solutions Analysis

^{−16}was obtained from the Friedman test, which allows us to conclude that there are significant differences, in the medians, of the normalized makespan of the three methods. In order to decide which heuristics are significantly different from each other we perform, like in Section 5.1, a Nemenyi test [64] and we got the pairwise p-values shown in Table 2.

#### 5.3. Discussion of Results

## 6. Conclusions

- Modeling the Job Shop category scheduling problem into a reinforcement learning problem by adapting the Markov process, covering how rewards are calculated, the possible set of states and the achievement of an agent’s goals or the set of available actions.
- Design and implementation of training environment for reinforcement learning algorithms to create intelligent agents capable of solving the category Job Shop scheduling problem.
- Implementation of the complete scheduling system, composed of the artificial intelligence module, which includes the intelligent agent and the training environment used during learning, and the scheduling module, which establishes all the rules of the problem, supports the decoding of academic instances and ensures the correct definition of all the components of the problem: machines, tasks and operations.
- Execution of a computational study for the analysis and validation of the results obtained by the intelligent agent developed in this work, which analyzes the performance, in efficiency and effectiveness, using measurements of the runtimes of the approaches studied and the quality of the solutions obtained, respectively.

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Conflicts of Interest

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**Figure 3.**Diagram of the developed system (adapted from our previous proposal [50]).

**Figure 4.**Boxplot of the runtime, in seconds (scientific notation), of algorithms: LPT, SPT, CUN, Peng and Zhang.

Zhang | Peng | CUN | SPT | |
---|---|---|---|---|

Peng | $0.81939$ | - | - | - |

CUN | $1.5\times {10}^{-6}$ | $2.9\times {10}^{-9}$ | - | - |

SPT | $4.9\times {10}^{-4}$ | $1.4\times {10}^{-12}$ | $0.011$ | - |

LPT | <$2\times {10}^{-16}$ | $4.5\times {10}^{-14}$ | $5.7\times {10}^{-9}$ | $0.02464$ |

CUN | LPT | |
---|---|---|

LPT | $3.2\times {10}^{-11}$ | - |

SPT | <$2\times {10}^{-16}$ | $2.3\times {10}^{-7}$ |

## Short Biography of Authors

Bruno Cunha is a professor at the Institute of Engineering–Polytechnic of Porto (ISEP/P.PORTO) and a researcher of the Interdisciplinary Studies Research Center (ISRC). He received his degree in informatics engineering in 2013 and master’s degree of computer science in knowledge-based and decision support technologies in 2015 from the Institute of Engineering–Polytechnic of Porto (ISEP/P.PORTO), and the PhD degree in informatics, in 2021, from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD). His research interests involve machine learning, optimization algorithms and computational intelligence. | |

Ana Madureira was born in Mozambique, in 1969. She got his BSc degree in Computer Engineering in 1993 from ISEP, Master degree in Electrical and Computers Engineering–Industrial Informatics, in 1996, from FEUP, and the PhD degree in Production and Systems, in 2003, from University of Minho, Portugal. She became IEEE Senior Member in 2010. She had been Chair of IEEE Portugal Section (2015–2017), Vice-chair of IEEE Portugal Section (2011–2014) and Chair/Vice-Chair of IEEE-CIS Portuguese chapter. She was Chair of University Department of IEEE R8 Educational Activities Sub-Committee (2017–2018). She is IEEE R8 Secretary (2019–2021). She is External Member Evaluation Committee of the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education—A3ES for the scientific area of Informatics of Polytechnic Higher Education (since 2012). Currently she is Coordinator Professor at the Institute of Engineering–Polytechnic of Porto (ISEP/P.PORTO) and Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Research Center (ISRC). In the last few years, she was author of more than 100 scientific papers in scientific conference proceedings, journals and books. | |

Benjamim Fonseca is an Associate Professor with Habilitation at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) and researcher at INESC TEC, in Portugal. His main research and development interests are collaborative systems, mobile accessibility and immersive systems. He authored or co-authored over a hundred publications in these fields, in several international journals, books and conference proceedings, and participates in the review and organization of various scientific publications and events. He is also co-founder and CEO of 4ALL Software, UTAD’s spin-off that works in the development of innovative software, implementing complex digital platforms and interactive solutions. | |

João Matos is an Associate Professor at ISEP and researcher at LEMA in Porto, Portugal. He got his BSc degree in Applied Mathematics in 2005 from University of Porto, and the PhD degree in Applied Mathematics in 2015 from University of Porto. His main research interests are approximation theory, orthogonal polynomials, spectral methods and image processing. |

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Cunha, B.; Madureira, A.; Fonseca, B.; Matos, J.
Intelligent Scheduling with Reinforcement Learning. *Appl. Sci.* **2021**, *11*, 3710.
https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083710

**AMA Style**

Cunha B, Madureira A, Fonseca B, Matos J.
Intelligent Scheduling with Reinforcement Learning. *Applied Sciences*. 2021; 11(8):3710.
https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083710

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Cunha, Bruno, Ana Madureira, Benjamim Fonseca, and João Matos.
2021. "Intelligent Scheduling with Reinforcement Learning" *Applied Sciences* 11, no. 8: 3710.
https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083710