Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A heuristic algorithm based on multiassignment procedures for nurse scheduling

Constantino, Ademir Aparecido; Landa-Silva, Dario; de Melo, Everton Luiz; de Mendonza, Candido Ferreira Xavier; Rizzato, Douglas Baroni; Romao, Wesley

A heuristic algorithm based on multiassignment procedures for nurse scheduling Thumbnail


Ademir Aparecido Constantino

Everton Luiz de Melo

Candido Ferreira Xavier de Mendonza

Douglas Baroni Rizzato

Wesley Romao


This paper tackles a Nurse Scheduling Problem which consists of generating work schedules for a set of nurses while considering their shift preferences and other requirements. The objective is to maximize the satisfaction of nurses? preferences and minimize the violation of soft constraints. This paper presents a new deterministic heuristic algorithm, called MAPA (multi-assignment problem-based algorithm), which is based on successive resolutions of the assignment problem. The algorithm has two phases: a constructive phase and an improvement phase. The constructive phase builds a full schedule by solving successive assignment problems, one for each day in the planning period. The improvement phase uses a couple of procedures that re-solve assignment problems to produce a better schedule. Given the deterministic nature of this algorithm, the same schedule is obtained each time that the algorithm is applied to the same problem instance. The performance of MAPA is benchmarked against published results for almost 250,000 instances from the NSPLib dataset. In most cases, particularly on large instances of the problem, the results produced by MAPA are better when compared to best-known solutions from the literature. The experiments reported here also show that the MAPA algorithm finds more feasible solutions compared with other algorithms in the literature, which suggest that this proposed approach is effective and robust.


Constantino, A. A., Landa-Silva, D., de Melo, E. L., de Mendonza, C. F. X., Rizzato, D. B., & Romao, W. (2014). A heuristic algorithm based on multiassignment procedures for nurse scheduling. Annals of Operations Research, 218(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 22, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jan 22, 2016
Journal Annals of Operations Research
Print ISSN 0254-5330
Electronic ISSN 1572-9338
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 218
Issue 1
Keywords nurse scheduling, personnel scheduling, assignment problem, heuristics metaheuristics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


You might also like

Downloadable Citations