Emerging Application or Methodologies Papers
Many city governments are under pressure to optimize the utilization of their resources to respond to fire, rescue and medical emergencies. In this paper we describe a simulation-based optimization software called SOFER that learns from a history of emergency requests to optimize the placement of resources and response policies. We describe a two-level random-restart hill climbing approach that yields policies which perform better than the current practice, satisfy the usability constraints, and are sensitive to optimization metrics and population changes. Some of the policies learned by the system give insight into response practices that would otherwise be counterintuitive.