Optimal control of a facility with periodic interrupted demand

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The system investigated consists of a stochastic periodic stream of raw material, a continuous processing operation with controllable deterministic service rates, and a storage facility. The arrival stream is periodically interrupted and divided into alternating on-off intervals of fixed length. The processing facility is allowed to operate during the off-interval. Superimposed on this system is a cost structure composed of processing and holding costs. Such operations may be found in manufacturing as well as service systems (for example, dry cleaners, machine shops, repair and maintenance shops, printers, information processing centers, etc). A service rate control rule that minimizes the infinite-horizon discounted expected total cost is found. Existence and uniqueness of long-term optimal cost and policy functions is shown. Since the optimal policy cannot be expressed explicitly, an approximate solution was obtained. An error bound on the optimal cost associated with this solution is exhibited. The approximate solution is characterized by a service rate control rule that is a linear function of the level of inventory at the start of each on-interval and a piecewise linear function of inventory at the start of each off-interval. The optimal discounted expected total cost is quadratic in the inventory level at the start of each interval. Computational results indicate relative cost errors in the order of 2-3 percent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-599
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Optimization Theory and Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1992


  • Markovian decision processes
  • Optimal control
  • contraction mapping
  • discounted dynamic programming
  • dynamic programming
  • inventory
  • periodic arrivals
  • stochastic processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Optimization
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Applied Mathematics


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