This paper presents a search technique for scheduling problems, called Heuristic-Biased Stochastic Sampling (HBSS). The underlying assumption behind the HBSS approach is that strictly adhering to a search heuristic often does not yield the best solution and, therefore, exploration off the heuristic path can prove fruitful. Within the HBSS approach, the balance between heuristic adherence and exploration can be controlled according to the confidence one has in the heuristic. By varying this balance, encoded as a bias function, the HBSS approach encompasses a family of search algorithms of which greedy search and completely random search are extreme members. We present empirical results from an application of HBSS to the realworld problem of observation scheduling. These results show that with the proper bias function, it can be easy to outperform greedy search.
Registration: ISBN 978-0-262-51091-2