Posted by: thebylog | September 4, 2004


Testing a computer program becomes monotonous. Our project involves minimizing the “lateness” of x number of jobs processed on y number of machines. One of the things that makes our research unique (and that’s a very important issue in research!) is that we have sequence-dependant setup times.

Think of a “job” as a batch of widgets to be processed. This “job” has a due date and can be processed on many different machines. So let’s say our method of scheduling these jobs assigned job “a” to be processed on machine “b”. The setup time for job a on machine b is different depending on what job machine b has just finished processing. Got that?

We’re taking advantage of a computer’s computational power to run through thousands of possible sequences to give us an optimal or near-optimal one. The algorithm we’re using has parameters, and we have to determine formulas for these paramaters, so that depending on certain inputs, these paramter values will automatically be determined. Yeah…

Anyways, I love it, to put it concisely. I loved developing the program, I love the complexity, the minutiae of having to have everything just right, and I certainly am loving birthing equations to fit data.

That’s an intriguing part of statistics, by the way, a valuable tool that statisticians possess, this ability to take data and fit it with an equation–a distribution–that describes it.

This equation was great. It involved two input variables and six constants. It was an exponential, which meant we had this multiplied by that divided by whatever and added to you, all that multiplied by me; we had all that and then we raised it to the 2.5th power. How great is that?! I wish I could somehow paste in a Equation Editor graphic, then I’d show it to you in all its glory. But anyway, we had to become a little less rigid than we’d hoped, and there was one annoying outlier that didn’t fit our artfully-constructed equation, but I think it’ll do the trick.



  1. You could always capture a screenshot and post it as a jpeg.


  2. You could always capture a screenshot and post it as a jpeg.


  3. um sounds… CAPTIVATING

  4. Thanks By. Wish I understood it better.


  5. Thanks By. Wish I understood it better.


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