Fine Tune ALICE Schedules with Optimization Presets

With Optimization Presets you have enhanced control in setting the simulation run time, max project duration, and optimization priorities to satisfy your project constraints.  

What are Optimization Presets?

Optimization Presets are the next frontier in generative scheduling by offering customizable options that can be adapted to your project's unique requirements. This enhancement allows for a more strategic approach than the conventional focus on optimizing duration and crew count, enabling more effective and tailored planning for advanced users.  

Who should use Optimization Presets?

This is an advanced feature for power users who are ready to take their Generative Scheduling to the next level and have completed standard product training. 

When and how should I use Optimization Presets?

It is recommended that you start your first schedule runs with the traditional ALICE scheduler before jumping into optimization presets - this will enable the presets to build on the first solutions. Additionally, we recommend choosing one or two main criteria for the best results. 

Examples of Optimization Preset use cases:

  • Optimize Duration: Focus on finding solutions with the shortest project duration.
    • Example: Tell ALICE to prioritize finding the fastest solution over leveling resources 
  • Optimize Crew/Equipment Numbers (Resource Usage): Look for solutions that require the lowest peak resource usage, either overall or for specific crews/equipment.
    • Example: Tell ALICE to prioritize resource usage instead of duration  
  • Optimize Idle Cost for select Crew: Optimize for solutions that minimize downtime for select resources
    • Example: Tell ALICE to prioritize reducing downtime for your rented equipment so they can be demobilized sooner 
  • Milestone Ends: Search for solutions that shorten the duration for all or specific end milestones.
    • Example: Tell ALICE to prioritize solutions that achieve key milestone dates with performance incentives or reduce liquidated damages  
  • Scope: Find solutions that compress the overall duration based on element property tags (e.g., reducing duration for elements tagged “Area 3”)
    • Example: Tell ALICE to prioritize a certain work area or scope package using element metadata in UDF’s  
  • Precedence: Prioritize precedence logic over resource logic to control the flow of resources more effectively.
    • Example: Tell ALICE to prioritize precedence relationships over resource optimization 

Clickable Tutorial for Optimization Presets 

7 STEPS

1. The first step is to open Solutions | ALICE and click What if

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2. Click to expand your optimization preset menu

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3. Optimize using an existing solution to build on a previous scenario or set a new one

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4. Set a maximum duration in days
Note: if the max duration is not mathematically feasible based on your constraint you will receive an infeasibility and will need to modify constraints to get a feasible solution

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5. Set the run time for your simulation.
10 minutes is the default
5 minutes can be helpful if you're in a time crunch or need to make a minor change
more than 10 minutes is only recommended for highly complex projects
60 min is the max run time

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6. Select up to 2 optimization presets for best results.

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7. Click Run scenario

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** Best experienced in Full Screen (click the icon in the top right corner before you begin) **

https://www.iorad.com/player/2300940/Intro-to-Optimization-Presets-in-ALICE?iframeHash=watchsteps-1



Next step

Detailed Explanation of Optimization Presets

Set Maximum Duration: Set a cap on your project's duration. This option is great for projects where time constraints are critical, and can be combined effectively with other presets. If that maximum duration can’t be achieved within the set constraints and run time you will receive an infeasibility report and will need to extend the duration. Set a max duration after you have already achieved feasible schedules and know what are feasible durations based on your project constraints.   

Set Simulation Runtime: After the scheduler has performed an initial 10-minute run. Smaller projects with less than 500 activities should be able to generate future solutions in 3-5 minutes to accelerate optioneering. 

  • Pro Tip: If you are tight on time for a presentation or need to make a quick edit to your schedule a 3-5 minute simulation run can help you simulate a minor change quickly and optimize value delivery.
  • Note: Extending the duration run time may not lead to faster solutions but can allow ALICE to find better optimization of resources - extending the run beyond 10 minutes is only recommended for highly complex projects with thousands of activities, meta-data, and variability.  If you see a warning that the scheduler ran out of run time - this is a project that might require an extended 20-60-minute run to find optimal solutions. 

Project Completion: Focus on minimizing the end of the last task, suitable for projects for project recoveries and feasibility studies.

Preset Options and Their Best Use Cases

Optimize Using Existing Scenario: Start your scheduling with the best solution from a previous scenario, ensuring new searches don't worsen previous results. Ideal for continuing with a prior solution using new presets.

Using Existing Simulations as a Starting Point

ALICE allows you to use an existing simulation as a starting point for a new one, enabling you to explore different optimization priorities while building upon previous work. This capability embodies the true power of optioneering, providing unmatched flexibility in project planning.

Optimize End Milestones: Aim to complete specific parts of the project earlier, regardless of potential increases in resource usage. This preset is ideal when certain project phases are more time-sensitive than others.

Prioritize Precedence Logic Over Resource Logic: Minimize delays in tasks that are connected and share resources, enhancing workflow efficiency. This preset is beneficial when you're looking to optimize the sequence of interconnected tasks.

Optimize by Custom Property: Focus on completing a subset of tasks with a shared custom property in the shortest span possible. This preset is ideal for parts of a project that need to be completed quickly, like road blockages.

Minimize the Number of Crews: Reduce the crew demand, potentially extending project duration for cost savings or safety improvements.

Optimize Idle Time: Reduce the non-working time for crews on site, optimizing crew allocation and release times. This is best used when the goal is to minimize idle time for hired crews.

 

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