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Resource allocation in congested queueing systems with time-varying demand: An application to airport operations

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>16/07/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)566-581
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/01/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Motivated by the need to develop time-efficient methods for minimizing operational delays at severely congested airports, we consider a problem involving the distribution of a common resource between two sources of time-varying demand. We formulate this as a dynamic program in which the objective is based on second moments of stochastic queue lengths and show that, for sufficiently high volumes of demand, optimal values can be well-approximated by quadratic functions of the system state. We identify conditions which enable the strong performance of myopic policies and develop approaches to the design of heuristic policies by means of approximate dynamic programming (ADP) methods. Numerical experiments suggest that our ADP-based heuristics, which require very little computational effort, are able to improve substantially upon the performances of more naive decision-making policies, particularly if exogenous system parameters vary considerably as functions of time.