Modern optimization in earthwork construction

By Parente, M.; Correia, A.G.; Cortez, P.

Geotechnical Engineering for Infrastructure and Development - Proceedings of the XVI European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, ECSMGE 2015



Earthworks tasks are often regarded in transportation projects as some of the most demanding processes. In fact, sequential tasks such as excavation, transportation, spreading and compaction are strongly based on heavy mechanical equipment and repetitive processes, thus becoming as economically demanding as they are time-consuming. Moreover, actual construction requirements originate higher demands for productivity and safety in earthwork constructions. Given the percentual weight of costs and duration of earthworks in infrastructure construction, the optimal usage of every resource in these tasks is paramount. Considering the characteristics of an earthwork construction, it can be looked at as a production line based on resources (mechanical equipment) and dependency relations between sequential tasks, hence being susceptible to optimization. Up to the present, the steady development of Information Technology areas, such as databases, artificial intelligence and operations research, has resulted in the emergence of several technologies with potential application bearing that purpose in mind. Among these, modern optimization methods (also known as metaheuristics), such as evolutionary computation, have the potential to find high quality optimal solutions with a reasonable use of computational resources. In this context, this work describes an optimization algorithm for earthworks equipment allocation based on a modern optimization approach, which takes advantage of the concept that an earthwork construction can be regarded as a production line.



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