Understanding Algorithm Performance on an Oversubscribed Scheduling Application
The best performing algorithms for a particular oversubscribed scheduling application, Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) scheduling, appear to have little in common. Yet, through careful experimentation and modeling of performance in real problem instances, the authors can relate characteristics of the best algorithms to characteristics of the application. In particular, they find that plateaus dominate the search spaces (thus favoring algorithms that make larger changes to solutions) and that some randomization in exploration is critical to good performance (due to the lack of gradient information on the plateaus). Based on their explanations of algorithm performance, they develop a new algorithm that combines characteristics of the best performers; the new algorithm's performance is better than the previous best.