A time-based pheromone approach for the ant system
Yıldırım, Mahir Umman and Çatay, Bülent (2012) A time-based pheromone approach for the ant system. (Accepted/In Press)
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11590-012-0451-2
The ant system (AS) is a metaheuristic approach originally developed for solving the traveling salesman problem. AS has been successfully applied to various hard combinatorial optimization problems and different variants have been proposed in the literature. In this paper, we introduce a time-based pheromone approach for AS (TbAS). Due to this nature TbAS is applicable to routing problems involving time-windows. The novelty in TbAS is the multi-layer pheromone network structure which implicitly utilizes the service time information associated with the customers as a heuristic information. To investigate the performance of TbAS, we use the well-known vehicle routing problem with time-windows as our testbed and we conduct an extensive computational study using the Solomon  instances. Our results reveal that the proposed time-based pheromone approach is effective in obtaining good quality solutions.
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