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  • 2020Francisphd

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Robust and stochastic approaches to network capacity design under demand uncertainty

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date06/2020
Number of pages180
Awarding Institution
Award date9/06/2020
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis considers the network capacity design problem with demand uncertainty using the stochastic, robust and distributionally robust stochastic optimization approaches (DRSO). Network modeling in itself has found wide areas of application in most fields of human endeavor. The network would normally consist of source (origin) and sink (destination) nodes connected by arcs that allow for flows of an entity from the origin to the destination nodes.

In this thesis, a special type of the minimum cost flow problem is addressed, the multi-commodity network flow problem. Commodities are the flow types that are transported on a shared network. Offered demands are, for the most part, unknown or uncertain, hence a model that immune against this uncertainty becomes the focus as well as the practicability of such models in the industry. This problem falls under the two-stage optimization framework where a decision is delayed in time to adjust for the first decision earlier made. The first stage decision is called the "here and now", while the second stage traffic re-adjustment is the "wait and see" decision. In the literature, the decision-maker is often believed to know the shape of the uncertainty, hence we address this by considering a data-driven uncertainty set. The research also addressed the non-linearity of cost function despite the abundance of literature assuming linearity and models proposed for this.

This thesis consist of four main chapters excluding the "Introduction" chapter and the "Approaches to Optimization under Uncertainty" chapter where the methodologies are reviewed. The first of these four, Chapter 3, proposes the two models for the Robust Network Capacity Expansion Problem (RNCEP) with cost non-linearity. These two are the RNCEP with fixed-charge cost and RNCEP with piecewise-linear cost. The next chapter, Chapter 4, compares the RNCEP models under two types of uncertainties in order to address the issue of usefulness in a real world setting. The resulting two robust models are also comapared with the stochastic optimization model with distribution mean. Chapter 5 re-examines the earlier problem using machine learning approaches to generate the two uncertainty sets while the last of these chapters, Chapter 6, investigates DRSO model to network capacity planning and proposes an efficient solution technique.