Simheuristic and learnheuristic algorithms for the temporary-facility location and queuing problem during population treatment or testing events

Christopher Bayliss*, Javier Panadero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Epidemic outbreaks, such as the one generated by the coronavirus disease, have raised the need for more efficient healthcare logistics. One of the challenges that many governments have to face in such scenarios is the deployment of temporary medical facilities across a region with the purpose of providing medical services to their citizens. This work tackles this temporary-facility location and queuing problem with the goals of minimising costs, the expected completion time, population travel time, and waiting time. The completion time for a facility depends on the numbers assigned to those facilities as well as stochastic arrival times. This work proposes a learnheuristic algorithm to solve the facility location and population assignment problem. Firstly a machine learning algorithm is trained using data from a queuing model (simulation module). The learnheuristic then constructs solutions using the machine learning algorithm to rapidly evaluate decisions in terms of facility completion and population waiting times. The efficiency and quality of the algorithm is demonstrated by comparison with exact and simulation-only (simheuristic) methodologies. A series of experiments are performed which explore the trade-offs between solution cost, completion time, population travel time, and waiting time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Simulation
Early online date24 Jan 2023
Publication statusEarly online - 24 Jan 2023


  • Facilities planning and design
  • Machine learning
  • Queuing
  • sim-learnheuristics
  • Simulation

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