Simulated annealing approach to nurse rostering benchmark and real-world instances

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


The nurse rostering problem, which addresses the task of assigning a given set of activities to nurses without violating any complex rules, has been studied extensively in the last 40 years. However, in a lot of hospitals the schedules are still created manually, as most of the research has not produced methods and software suitable for a practical application. This paper introduces a novel, flexible problem model, which can be categorized as ASBN|RVNTO|PLG. Two solution methods are implemented, including a MIP model to compute good bounds for the test instances and a heuristic method using the simulated annealing algorithm for practical use. Both methods are tested on the available benchmark instances and on the real-world data. The mathematical model and solution methods are integrated into a state-of-the-art duty rostering software, which is primarily used in Germany and Austria.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)187-216
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2019

    Research areas

  • Business informatics - α|β|γ notation, Duty rostering software, Flexible model, Mixed integer programming, Nurse rostering problem, Real-world data, Simulated annealing