TaskMaster: a prototype graphical user interface to a schedule optimization model
Banham, Stephen R.
Bradley, Gordon H.
Dolk, Daniel R.
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This thesis investigates the use of current graphical interface techniques to build more effective computer-user interfaces to Operations Research (OR) schedule optimization models. The design is directed at the scheduling decision maker who possesses limited OR experience. The feasibility and validity of building an interface for this kind of user is demonstrated in the development of a prototype graphical user interface called TaskMaster. TaskMaster is designed as the Dialog component of a scheduling Decision Support System (DSS). The underlying scheduling model uses set-partitioning and mixed-integer linear programming to generate optimal schedules. Although the model was originally developed to address a specific problem, inter-deployment scheduling of Navy surface ships, TaskMaster has been designed to be problem-independent, enabling it to address a broad range of scheduling problems with the same general structure. TaskMaster demonstrates the type of interactive, graphical interface that can be developed specifically for non-specialists. It is easy to learn and to use, and yet fully exploits the power of a sophisticated OR scheduling model. The prototype is implemented on a NeXT computer, chosen for its advanced computational power and state-of-the-art graphical interface development tools.
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