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Scoop Scheduler

Scoop Scheduler

A software component for optimal activity scheduling


The Scoop Scheduler is a member of SINTEF's Scoop software suite for optimisation. It can be integrated into third party software to efficiently solve complex planning and scheduling problems. While originally developed for detailed activity scheduling in hospitals, the software's generic model, and the associated optimisation algorithms, make it applicable to a wide range of production or activity scheduling applications.

Scoop Scheduler is developed by the Department of applied mathematics, and the optimisation group.

See below for a further description of this software.

Senior Research Scientist

Hospital patient scheduling

When integrated in hospital planning software, Scoop Scheduler gives computational support for the planning of individual patients in hospitals. It automatically suggests optimal, or near optimal, patient schedules for all kinds of activities related to the examination and treatment of each patient. The availability and preferences of all necessary resources are considered. Many different planning situations are supported, ranging from long term admission or appointment planning, to very dynamic "on-the-day" patient re-scheduling ("coordination"). The software supports the scheduling of individual examination activities, as well as the coordinated planning of complex clinical (care) pathways across multiple hospital departments or clinics.

See also the page Optimisation in Health Care.

General model and optimization methods


Scoop Scheduler implements a rich set of extensions to the resource constrained project scheduling problem (RCPSP), supporting:

* Multiple projects
* Minimum and maximum time lag constraints between activities
* Multiple modes (a mode is a combination of resources that can carry out an activity)
* Mode consistency constraints between activities in the same project
* "Project disjunction" constraints
* Renewable and non-reneable resources, with any capacity and calendar based availability
* etc.


This model can be used to express a wide range of real world integrated planning and scheduling problems. To solve these problems, Scoop Scheduler applies a self-configuring set of optimisation methods, each with its own strengths. On-line and off-line learning is used to adapt this framework so that these methods collaborate efficiently to provide optimal, or near optimal, solutions within the time requirements of the application.

Application Programming Interface (API)

Scoop Scheduler comes with a well documented WCF-based API, for easy integration into third party planning and scheduling software. This API gives the user the ability to:

* Set up complex planning and scheduling problems
* Compute optimal or near optimal schedules in a short time
* In a dynamic planning situation:
* Make modifications to the problem definition based on new information.
* Re-schedule to accommodate the new information, while maintaining closeness to the previously accepted schedule (to minimise the disruption to operations).


Relevant Papers


Recursive logic-based Benders’ decomposition for multi-mode outpatient scheduling

Efficient outpatient scheduling is becoming increasingly important for the overall cost effectiveness and treatment efficiency of a hospital. We consider a class of multi-mode appointment scheduling problems, with variable resource availability and resource setup times. These problems are frequently...

Year 2016
Type Journal article

Local search for the surgery admission planning problem

We present a model for the surgery admission planning problem, and a meta-heuristic algorithm for solving it. The problem involves assigning operating rooms and dates to a set of elective surgeries, as well as scheduling the surgeries of each day and room. Simultaneously, a schedule is created for e...

Authors Riise Atle Edmund K. Burke
Year 2011
Type Journal article

The Surgery Scheduling Problem - A General Model

The term surgery scheduling is used about a variety of strategic, tactical and operational scheduling problems, many of which are critical to an efficient use of hospital resources. Our focus is on operational surgery scheduling problems, which are often NP-hard. The exact problem formulation varies...

Year 2012
Type Report