Search Space Characterization for a Telescope Scheduling Application

John Bresina, Mark Drummond, and Keith Swanson

This paper presents a technique for statistically characterizing a search space and demonstrates the use of this technique within a practical telescope scheduling application. The characterization provides the following: (i) an estimate of the search space size, (ii) scaling technique for multi-attribute objective functions and search heuristics, (iii) a "quality density function" for schedules in a search space, (iv) a measure of a scheduler’s performance, and (v) support for constructing and tuning search heuristics. This paper describes the random sampling algorithm used to construct this characterization and explains how it can be used to produce this information. As an example, we include a comparative analysis of an heuristic dispatch scheduler and a look-ahead scheduler that performs greedy search.


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