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experience nowadays. Based on the model of Ant Colony

Optimization Algorithm (ACA) in virtual enterprise partner

selection, in this paper, we fuse the genetic algorithm into ACA,

called fusion algorithm, in order to improve the effect of the

partner selection. The fusion algorithm has two steps: 1) it uses

the GA to optimize the model of partner selection and takes

advantages of rapid convergence of GA in initial search periods.

2) When GA search speed has become slow, the ACA takes over

the search process, in which it uses the candidates produced by the

GA as the seeds of pheromone used by ACA. By experimental

comparison with GA optimization and ACA optimization, it

shows that the fusion algorithm has performed better than the GA

and ACA optimization, respectively, in both speed and accuracy

under our selected numerical case. The fusion algorithm

presented in this study may be applicable to similar business

problems.

,QGH[ 7HUPV-ACO, Virtual Enterprise, Partner Selection, GA,

Hybrid Algorithm

I. INTRODUCTION

N the process Irom the industrial age transition into the

inIormation age, corporate entities are in a dilemma in the

process oI doing their core business and responding to

environmental changes. ThereIore, virtual enterprises have

been appeared and replaced entities enterprises in part to Iorm a

new organizational model compatible with the inIormation age.

Collaborative organizations are becoming more important in

business globalization, because the resources such human

experts, experiment laboratory etc. required by some kinds oI

projects can not be competent in one entity company. On the

other hands, individual companies seek eIIicient gains by

Iocusing on their core competences while outsourcing non-core

operations. This leads to the degree oI inter-Iirm transactions

Manuscript received December 15,2007. This work was supported in part by

the National Science Foundation oI China under Grant 70672020.

Z. Yao is with the School oI Economics and Management, BeiHang

University, Beijing 100083, China. (Tel: 8610-82317802; Iax: 8610-82328037;

e-mail: iszhyao buaa.edu.cn).

J. Liu is a graduate with the with the School oI Economics and Management,

BeiHang University, Beijing 100083, China. (e-mail: liujian

sem.buaa.edu.cn).

Y.-G. Wang is with the School oI Business, Nanjing University, Nanjing

210093, Jiangsu Province, China (e-mail: nkygwangsohu.com).

growing considerably. To complete one project, it is imperative

Ior core companies to select the collaborative partners, which in

turn call Ior the development and deployment oI decision

support models that assist companies in the selection and

management oI these relationships |9|. In the process oI

establishment oI virtual enterprises, how to select the partners

is one oI the key issues, which has drawn the attention oI some

scholars and conducted a Iew researches, see

|1||2||6||9||12||13||15|. However, the choice oI business

partners involved in a number oI Iactors, which makes partner

selection became a complex problem. Thus, there is an urgent

need to Iind an eIIective decision support model Ior

management reIerence.

In literature, various models and algorithms have been

proposed to optimize the problem oI partner selection |3|.

Establishing mathematical model and using classic

optimization method such as complex method to help virtual

enterprises select partners is the most commonly used, also

gained good results, such as an ally selection model based on

AHP and Iuzzy set in the virtual enterprise |1|. Cao et al.

present a multi-objective optimization model, taking the cost,

time and risk Iactors into account to minimize the risk oI

project Iailure and project completion time through Genetic

Algorithm |2|; Talluri et al. propose a quantitative Iramework

to design business union with two-stage analytical Iramework

|4|. However, due to the complexity oI the virtual enterprise

partner selection, no speciIic solution has been accepted

widely, the research is still in the initial stage. ThereIore, it is

necessary to continue to Iind more suitable partner selection

methods.

To eIIectively select partners Ior virtual enterprise, in this

paper, we present an integrated meta-heuristic algorithm, called

a Iused algorithm, i.e., Iusing the genetic algorithm (GA)

algorithm into the ant colony optimization algorithm (ACA) by

taking the advantages oI both algorithms. We have

experimentally Iound that GA algorithm has Iaster converging

characteristic in initial searching stage or earlier search process,

but with the search time increase, GA will suIIiciently reduce

their converging speed. On the other hand, the ACA has slowly

search speed in earlier searching stages because oI the lack oI

the initial pheromone. With the availability oI inIormation oI

pheromone, the ACA will speed up in searching. By Iusing two

algorithms, we not only can use the advantage oI GA that has

an initial speed-up convergence, but also can use the candidates

Fusing Genetic Algorithm and Ant Colony

Algorithm to Optimize Virtual Enterprise Partner

Selection Problem

Z. Yao, J. Liu, and Y.-G. Wang

I

3614

978-1-4244-1823-7/08/$25.00 c 2008 IEEE

Authorized licensed use limited to: MALAVIYA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on May 14,2010 at 06:23:55 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

produced by GA as the initial pheromone Ior ACA. This is our

main idea in this paper. By numerical experimentation, we Iind

the integrated algorithm (Iusing algorithm) has perIormed

better in the respect oI converging speed than those oI the GA

and the ACA algorithms, respectively.

The organization oI the reminder oI this paper is as Iollows:

Section II describes the virtual enterprise partner selection

issue. Section III reviews the Ant Colony Algorithm, the

Genetic Algorithm, the basic principles oI Iused algorithm, and

the necessity Ior applying Iused algorithm to the partner

selection problems. Section IV presents the basic model and

processes oI the Iused algorithm in the problem oI the partner

selection in detail. Finally, the perIormance oI new algorithm

has been demonstrated by a numerical experiment in Section V

and conclusions and Iuture research have been included in the

last section.

II. PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

Virtual enterprise, also known as the dynamic alliance,

widely recognized deIinition is as Iollows: A virtual enterprise

is a temporary alliance oI enterprises that come together to

share skills or core competencies and resources in order to

better respond to business opportunities, and whose

cooperation is supported by computer networks |16|

. To

achieve rapid response to meet the market demand objective,

virtual enterprise relies on electronic inIormation means to

contact and cooperate, and reorganizes human resources,

Iinancial resources and material resources distributed in the

diIIerent companies and geographic areas. Virtual enterprise is

widely existed in current internet age. For example, virtual

manuIacturing in supply chain reported in |17| describes a

logistics company who serves customers that include Ireight

Iorwarders, transportation buyers and suppliers, banks,

insurance companies and government agencies. Each oI these

partners is dynamic integrated according to the market

opportunity. As long as market opportunities exist, this virtual

enterprise will be to exist. II the market opportunity is

disappeared, the virtual enterprise will be disintegrated. More

examples Ior virtual enterprise can be Iound in |16|.

To create a virtual enterprise above deIined, the selecting

partners that satisIy the required core competence is key

strategic problem. The partner selection issue can be described

as Iollows: The main or sponsoring enterprise launches the

virtual enterprise project, analyzes the core competencies

required, and identiIies candidate enterprises Ior each

competency by announcing invite public bidding inIormation.

AIter collecting bidding inIormation Irom candidate

companies, the main enterprise assesses the candidate

enterprises through the relevant experts to determine the best

candidate enterprise portIolio. This process oI partner selection

can be presented in Fig.1.

Fig.1 shows that one virtual enterprise totally need J kinds oI

core competencies and each core competency including

prospective candidates as

) ( f

i

u , where f1, ., J and i1, ., I

f

.

According to standards set in advance, the sponsoring

enterprises select partners Irom the candidate enterprise in each

oI core competency category to compose a dynamic alliance.

Assuming one dynamic alliance needs J kinds oI core

competencies, Ior the f

th

core competency it has I

n

potential

candidate partners. Note that n may be diIIerent in various core

competencies, because each kind oI core competency may have

diIIerent candidate partners Ior selection. From the perspective

oI practical applications in the dynamic alliance, each kind oI

core competency needs at least 1, up to 2 partners. The number

oI partners combination Ior the f

th

competency is

2

) 1 (

2 1

+

= +

f

I

f

I

f

I

f

I

C C , and ) 1 (

1

2

1

+

=

f f

J

f

J

I I Ior entire

combination in one alliance. It is evident that there is a

combinatorial explosion problem with the increase oI J.

ThereIore, it is diIIicult to eIIectively select candidate partners

to satisIy the requirements oI all core competence.

Fig. 1. Partner Selection Process

In literature, virtual enterprise partner selection issue can be

expressed as multi-goals combinational optimization problems

|5||6||10||14|. In this paper, we Iollow the method used in |6|

Ior modeling the virtual enterprise partner selection problem, in

which the core competences required include the cost, time, and

risk. OI course, there are many Iactors need to investigate into

model, see |16|. However, the diIIerence between our research

and Xiong et al. |6| is that the later is based on genetic

algorithm to optimize the partner selection problem in virtual

enterprise, but our study is based on the Iusing algorithm that

integrates the genetic algorithm and ant colony algorithm. In

Iact, this paper is extended the work by Wu et al. |10| that uses

the ant colony optimization to achieve the partner selection.

The core competency assessment criteria are minimizing cost,

time and risk. SpeciIically, the member enterprises oI virtual

enterprise need to meet the Iollowing 3 Iunctions:

The Objective Function 1: Minimizing the cost oI the

dynamic alliance operation. Here the cost is composed oI two

parts: one is the inherent cost oI chosen individual and the other

is linked cost. Generally, the objective Iunction can be

expressed as Iormula (1):

+

+ =

= =

J

f

I

i

f

i

f

i

f f

i i

f

i

f

i

link in

H H C H C

C C C

1 1

"

"

'

'

) " ' (

" '

) (

2

1

) ( Min

) ( Min Min

(1)

2008 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2008) 3615

Authorized licensed use limited to: MALAVIYA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on May 14,2010 at 06:23:55 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

Where,

=

) (

) (

0

1

f

i

f

i

f

i

u decline otherwsie

u choose if

H ,

The

) ( f

i

C is the inherent cost Ior choosing

) ( f

i

u ,

)

' ' '

(

' ' '

f f

i i

C is

the linked cost between

)

'

(

'

f

i

u and ,

)

' '

(

' '

f

i

u where

| , 1 | and | , 1 | ,

' ' ' ' ' '

J f f I i i .

The Objective Function 2: In order to grasp the Iast-changing

market opportunities more quickly, the whole virtual enterprise

is required to reach the minimum response time to the market.

The overall response time oI virtual enterprise depends on the

enterprise structure and operational workIlows. In general, Ior

the vertical integration enterprises like supply chain (that is,

there is a serial process that each connection is mutually linked

between research and development, manuIacturing,

distribution and other aspects oI the operations), the overall

reaction time can be expressed as Iormula (2):

) ( Max Min Min

) (

| , 1 |

f

i

f

i

J

f

I i

H T T

= (2)

where,

) ( f

i

T is the reaction time Ior choosing

) ( f

i

u and

f

i

H is

the same as in (1). Because oI the existence oI parallel

operations, each parallel link could be taken as a new one,

where it is choosing the maximum reaction time oI the linkage

Ior each oI new overall reaction time.

The Objective Function 3: Minimize the overall risk oI

virtual enterprise operation. Generally, the overall operating

risk can be denoted by Iormula (3):

=

=

J

f

f

i

f

i

I i

H R R

1

) (

| , 1 |

) ( Max Min Min (3)

Where,

) ( f

i

R is the risk Ior choosing

) ( f

i

u , deIined as the

moment oI the loss expectations and the probability triggered

by each partner`s risk Iactor, that is, )) ( ), ( (

) ( ) ( ) ( f

i

f

i

f

i

r P r E R =

and

f

i

H is the same as deIined in (1).

III. THE GENETIC ALGORITHM AND ANT COLONY ALGORITHM

A. Background of GA and ACA

Genetic Algorithm is a bionic optimization algorithm. It is

Iirst proposed by Holland in 1975. It bases on Darwin`s

'survival oI the Iittest biological evolution theory and

Mendelian`s orderly genes in the chromosomes. It is imitating

biological evolutionary process to choose the optimum Ior

some complex problems. To use the GA Ior searching optimal

solutions, the problem will be transIormed to the binary codes

or digital series that Iorms a string called chromosome and is

placed into the problem environment. In accordance with the

'survival oI the Iittest principle, the strings will be reproduced

iI they are Iitted in the problem good enough. On the other

hand, the string will be split into two or more sub-strings called

gene strings that can be exchanged and mutated among gene

string to generates new generation (new string). New strings

that are Iitted in the environment will be kept as the new

sub-generation chromosomes. Thus process will be continued

generation-by-generation. Finally it converges to the most

Iitness series to the environment and obtains the optimal

solution |7|. In this process, algorithm doesn`t make use oI the

Ieedback inIormation enough. There are a large number oI

redundant iterations when the solution comes to a certain scope,

results in low eIIiciency

|13|.

The ant colony algorithm is kind oI simulative evolutionary

algorithm inspired by the collective behavior oI ant in the real

nature, Iinding the optimal solution through the exchange oI

inIormation between individuals and mutual cooperation |18|.

The essence oI the ACA as Iollow: 1) Selection mechanism, the

greater available the amount oI inIormation is, the greater the

probability that the item selected will be; 2) Updating

mechanism, the inIormation will grow aIter the ants passed

more, and gradually decreases as the time went by iI no ant

passes; 3) Coordination mechanism, the ants communicate and

work collaboratively by inIormation. However, a main

weakness oI ACO is the speed oI convergence will be slow iI

no available or lack oI inIormation (chromosome) in initial

searching stages.

B. The Idea of the Fusing GA and ACA

To compensate Ior the shortcomings oI GA and ACA, Xiong

et al. |8| Iound the two algorithms generally have the

speed-time curve shown in Fig.2. GA with a higher rate oI

convergence to optimal solution in early search stages (t

0

~ t

a

time), but aIter t

a

time there is a signiIicant reduction in solving

eIIiciency. While, the ACA searches slowly in the initial period

(t

0

~ t

a

time) due to the lack oI inIormation, but the speed oI

convergence is rapidly improved with the pheromone

accumulated to a certain intensity (aIter t

a

time). ThereIore,

integrating two algorithms into one is a useIul attempt Ior

improving the perIormance oI meta-heuristics. The basic idea

oI the dynamic integration oI the GA and ACA is: Adopting

GA to generate initial available solutions beIore the best point

(a), and aIter that, ACA takes over the search process in which

ACA will use the available solutions produced by GA as its

initial pheromone.

Fig. 2. The DiIIerence oI Speed-time Curve oI the GA and ACA|8|

Wu et al. |15| proposed the integrated solving strategy Ior

3616 2008 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2008)

Authorized licensed use limited to: MALAVIYA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on May 14,2010 at 06:23:55 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

the general optimization problem, and used the travelling

salesman problem (TSP) as a numerical case to demonstrate

their new strategy. However, they set Iixed number oI iterations

Ior genetic algorithm, which causes genetic algorithm too early

(t

d

moment) ending or too late (t

e

moment) ending and can not

guarantee the eIIective integration. ThereIore, Wu et al. |15|

has noted that it is important problem to choice the integration

time between GA and ACA. To remedy this problem, Xiong et

al. |8| proposed a dynamic integration strategy in which the

time taken over search strategy by ACA Irom GA can be

dynamic and thereIore can obtain at an appropriate jointing

time. The method is: 1) Set the minimum Gene

min

(t

b

moment)

and maximum number Gene

max

(t

c

moment) oI iteration Ior the

genetic algorithm. 2) Set the minimum oIIspring evolutionary

rate Gene

min-impro-ratio

aIter taking a statistic. 3) In the range oI

iterations number pre-setted, iI the evolution rate is lower than

the Gene

min-impro-ratio

Ior Gene

die

generations, the eIIiciency oI

the genetic algorithm is low enough to be paused to enter the

ant colony algorithm |8|.

IV. PARTNER SELECTION BASED ON THE FUSED ALGORITHM

IN THE VIRTUAL ENTERPRISES

A. The Model of GA in Partner Selection

We Iirst Iollow Feng et al. |6| proposed using GA to solve

the partnership selection problem. Based on Feng et al. |6|

method, we modiIy the Feng et al. method by importing a

preliminary Iilter in order to enhance the precision oI the group

selection.

B. The Model of ACA in Partner Selection

In practice, each dynamic alliance requires at least one and at

most two candidates to Iorm dynamic partnerships. Wu et al.

|10| have reported using ACA to optimize the partner selection

problem in virtual enterprise. This paper improves the

algorithm proposed by Wu et al. |10| Ior partner selection issue

and modiIied model shows as in Fig.3.

Fig. 3. Improved Model oI Partner Selection

In Fig. 3, the connections between enterprises are taken as

ant paths, and the ant paths only exist in two adjacent

enterprises. II one enterprise has been chosen twice Ior one type

oI core competence, it means only one candidate participating

in the alliance; otherwise, it can be used as two candidates

participating in one alliance.

As noted above, the partner selection is a multi-objective

decision-making problem, while the ACA can only optimize

one objective Iunction. ThereIore, it is necessary to transIorm

multi-objective problem into a single objective

decision-making issue. In this paper, we use the Iitness Iunction

to construct the single-objective Iunction. We Iirst deIine a

positive ideal point ) , , (

+ + +

R T C and a negative

point ) , , (

R T C in three Iunctions space. Then the objective

Iunction (Iitness Iunction) can be constructed as Iollows:

+

+

=

d d

d

t f ) (

(4)

where

) / ) ) ( ( , / ) ) ( ( , / ) ) ( (( ) (

+ + +

= R R t R T T t T C C t C t d

and

, ) / ) ) ( ( , / ) ) ( ( , / ) ) ( (( ) (

+ + + + + + +

= R R t R T T t T C C t C t d

where, means norm, d

point, d

is the distance to the positive ideal point.

In order to get the greatest possible number oI solutions in

each round search, the number oI ants participating in search

should be as much as possible. Ants always start a search Irom

type 1. Considering the practice application, the type oI

enterprise that includes the largest number oI ants should be set

as type 1 and each enterprise will be placed one ant, so ant

number is I

1

.

At moment t, the amount oI inIormation reserves on the path

between enterprises

)

'

(

'

f

i

u

and

)

"

(

"

f

i

u

can be expressed by

) (

)

" '

(

" '

t

f f

i i

,

the degree oI inIormation decay can be expressed by 1.

The ant k takes its path as shown in Fig.3. The Ieasible set oI

the next enterprises the ant will pass can be expressed by

allowed

k

.

The probability Ior the ant k moving Irom

)

'

(

'

f

i

u

to

)

"

(

"

f

i

u

at t

moment is

) (

)

" '

(

" '

t p

f f k

i i

, and

=

, 0

) , ( ) (

) , ( ) (

) (

;

) (

) ( ) ' ' ' (

'

) ' ' (

' '

) ' ' ' (

' ' '

) ' ' ' (

' ' '

otherwise

u tabu f t

u tabu f t

t P k

allowed

r

r

u

r

r k

f f

r i

f

i k

f f

i i

f f k

i i

(5)

where, .

)

" '

(

" ' k

f f

i i

allowed

k

tabu is the current solution Ior ant k,

) , (

)

"

(

"

f

i

k

u tabu f

is the

objective Iunction value Ior the dynamic alliance oI

)

"

(

"

f

i

u

and

enterprises in set

k

tabu . and stand Ior the diIIerent role oI

) (

)

" '

(

" '

t

f f

i i

and

) , (

)

"

(

"

f

i

k

u tabu f

in the ant path chosen, respectively.

AIter n moments, ant k has Iinished one round search by

traveling all types oI enterprises. At the same time, the amount

oI inIormation on the path should be updated. In order to speed

up the convergence rate, this paper takes the amount oI

inIormation updated strategy with Max-Min Ant System |11|,

that is, only to update amount oI inIormation Ior the optimal

solution path in each round. ThereIore, the amount oI

inIormation is

2008 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2008) 3617

Authorized licensed use limited to: MALAVIYA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on May 14,2010 at 06:23:55 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

) 1 , 0 ( ), ( ) ( ) (

)

" '

(

" '

)

" '

(

" '

+ = +

best

f f

i i

f f

i i

tabu f t n t (6)

Where, ) (

best

tabu f is the objective Iunction value oI the Iittest

solution

best

tabu in current search round.

C. Integration of the GA and ACA

To make use oI merits both oI GA and ACA, we integrate

two algorithms into one algorithm as in |8|. At the early stage

the GA takes the searching process and aIter a time the ACA

will be Iollowed. As we have mentioned above, the interIace

between the two algorithms is an important step that lead to the

Iollowing two issues:

(1) Choose the proper integrated time, that is, what is the

ending condition oI the GA. We use the probability oI

searching new results by GA is less than top 10 optimum that

has been selected beIore new search as the ending conditions.

See step (6) in D. Algorithm Process oI this section.

(2) Set the initial pheromone Ior ant colony algorithm: AIter

the GA ending, N solutions are obtained (N Ior the population

size), calculating the Iitness oI each solution and recorded as

N

f f ~

1

respectively. According to requests by ACA Ior the

partner selection model, initializing the amount oI inIormation

(pheromone) on the path corresponding as

n

f f

i i

f n = ) (

) ' ' ' (

' ' '

, n

means the n

th

path, where | , 1 | N n .

D. Algorithm Process

// Genetic Algorithm with Pre-Iilter

(1) Initialize the control parameters Ior the genetic algorithm,

including population size N, crossover probability P

c

and

mutation probability P

m

;

(2) Set the end condition oI GA, that is,

set

min

Gene ,

max

Gene ,

ratio impro

Gene

min

and

die

Gene ;

(3) Generate the initial population P(0) in line with the

restrictive conditions at random, and set the number oI

generations as g0;

(4) Calculate the value oI C, T and R Ior the individual in

P(0), with comparison to ) , , (

R T C . II any oI the value is

less than the negative ideal value, ignore this individual, and

then Iill the absence with the individual oI the highest Iitness

value;

(5) Calculate individual`s Iitness value in P(0);

(6) Repeat the operations above until meeting the ending

conditions oI genetic algorithm as Iollows;

(a) According to individual Iitness value and roulette choice

strategy set P

i

as the choice probability oI each individual in

P(g);

(b) For (k0; k N; k k 2)

i. Choose two Iathers according to P

i

in P(g);

ii. r random|0, 1|;

iii. II (

m

P r )

Implement mutation operation on the two Iathers chosen,

produced two generations, amend in accordance with the

amendment mechanism and insert them into new

group ) 1 ( + g P ;

Else iI (

c m

P P r + )

Implement crossover operation, amend in accordance with

the amendment mechanism and insert them into new

group ) 1 ( + g P ;

Else

Insert the two unchanged Iathers into new group ) 1 ( + g P ;

}

(c) Calculate the individual Iitness value in P(g), choose top

10 individuals with high Iitness value to Iorm a new group

P(g1), and gg1;

// The InterIace oI GA and ACA

(7) According to the Ioregoing strategy about setting up the

initial pheromone Ior ant colony algorithm, set up the value oI

each edge in the model based on ant colony algorithm

as ) 0 (

) ' ' ' (

' ' '

f f

i i

;

// Improved Ant Colony Algorithm

(8) nc1 ( nc is the round number Iro search); f 0 ( f is the

optimal value oI the objective Iunction); place an ant colony on

all candidate partners, overall

=

=

J

f

f

I m

1

ant colonies, m is the

number oI ant colonies;

(9) Set up the initial solution set and Ieasible set Ior the m ant

colonies. Assumed ant colony k`s starting point is

) ' 2 (

1

u , and

then its initial solution set is } {

) ' 2 (

1

u tabu

k

= , its initial Ieasible

set is } {

) 3 (

3

) 3 (

2

) 3 (

1

, , ,

I k

u u u allowed = ;

(10) Ant colony k moves to the next enterprise according to

probability ) (

) ' ' ' (

' ' '

t P

f f k

i i

, put the enterprise selected into set tabu

k

,

and update the Ieasible set allowed

k

;

(11) AIter n movements, all the ant colonies complete a

round search by traveling overall 2J types. Then

calculate ) (

k k

tabu f f = , | , 1 | m k , record the maximum

k

f

as

max

f

, and the corresponding solution as tabu

k

;

(12) Update the amount oI inIormation Ior all paths

as

) (

)

" '

(

" '

n t

f f

i i

+

, and set ncnc1;

(13) II f f >

max

and

max

nc nc < (

max

nc

is the maximum

number oI iteration), then

max

f f = , return all ant colonies back

to their starting points, go to (2); otherwise, iI f f =

max

and

min

nc nc Ior 3 times consecutively, remove the repeat

enterprise in tabu

k

, and print the whole tabu

best

, determine the

whole process.

V. NUMERICAL EXPERIMENTS

In order to test the Ieasibility oI the integrated algorithm to

choose partners based on the genetic algorithm and the ant

colony algorithm. We use Matlab |19| program to conduct

simulation based on the Iollowing example.

A. The Parameters Description

3618 2008 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2008)

Authorized licensed use limited to: MALAVIYA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on May 14,2010 at 06:23:55 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

This paper chooses the case in Wu and Su |12| as numerical

experiment data: A middle-scale manuIacturing enterprise got a

large mold injection order. It needed a large scale milling

machine and grinder processing mold rack to conduct the

related mold processing, a Iew high precision CNC machine

tools and cores, and a large scale injection molding machine to

test mold. This enterprise did not have all oI these resources.

ThereIore, virtual enterprise will be organized in order to

complete this task. Core competencies required in this task can

be decomposed as Iollowing:

Mission 1: product 3D modeling and tools design, including

cavity, the core and electrode design, requires experienced

mold designer and related CAD soItware package.

Mission 2: mold rack design, mold manuIacturing process

design, related mold processing, large milling machine and

grinder are required.

Mission 3: cavity and core process design, NC programming

and insert the rough machining, CNC machine tools are

required.

Mission 4: electrode process design, NC programming and

machining, precise NC machine tools are required.

Mission 5: insert the EDM.

Mission 6: other parts design and manuIacturing, die

assembly, experienced mold workers are required.

Mission 7: test mold, large injection molding machine is

required.

Mission 8: mold repair according to the historical test

records, experienced mold workers are required.

The company decided to complete mission 1 by themselves

and other missions by partners. The company themselves also

can be considered as a partner. AIter gross evaluation oI tender

books and selection, mission 2 has Iive candidate partners,

mission 3 has Iive, mission 4 has Iive, mission 5 has Iive,

mission 6 has Iour, mission 7 has Iive and mission 8 has 4.

This injection mold manuIacturing dynamic alliance

comprises eight kinds oI core competencies (missions). The

number oI candidate partners Ior each core competencies is

respectively 1, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 5, 4. In practice, each core

competencies requests choosing at least one, up to two

companies to Iorm dynamic alliance. ThereIore, in theory, the

overall possible portIolios oI partner selection are

7

1

2 1

10 6 . 7 ) 1 (

2

1

+ = +

=

J

f

f f J f

I

f

I

I I C C

, which is unIeasible Ior

calculation. Now the integrated algorithm will be used to solve

this issue, with multi-objective Iunctions min C, min T and min

R aIorementioned.

B. Simulation Results and Analvsis

To solve the example in 4.1, using genetic algorithm, ant

colony algorithm and integrated algorithm respectively, we get

results as shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4 Comparison oI three algorithms objective Iunction value

From the Fig. 4 we can see that, in the GA, aIter 80 iterations,

the largest Iitness partner portIolio is stable in 0.8219. In the

ACA, the objective Iunction value Ior partner portIolio is stable

in 0.7504 aIter about 40 iterations. While in the integrated

algorithm, the objective Iunction value reaches the maximum

0.8219 aIter 42 iterations.

Detailed analysis and comparison Ior these three algorithms

Ior the optimal solutions are as Iollows.

(1) The Iitness value oI the GA, described by diamond line:

During the early 20 iterations, the Iitness value (optimal

solutions) climbs up Irom 0.38 to 0.8098. It is obvious that the

GA has a great convergence rate with a high eIIiciency in early

stage oI searching. However, on the other hand, aIter 60

iterations, the optimal solution Iitness rises only Irom 0.8098 to

0.8219, with a gentle increase in the diamond line. It can be

concluded that the GA has redundant iterations in later stages

and its searching eIIiciency is relatively low.

(2) The Iitness value oI triangle line, standing Ior the optimal

values oI the ACA: Each oI the solution process is relatively

shorter than the GA and the integrated algorithm. The number

oI iterations is between 20 and 50, which means the ACA can

quickly converge to a local optimum solution. The results given

here is somewhat ideal solutions. It is a Ilaw that the ant

algorithm itselI will Iall into the local optimization due to

parameters improperly set. However, aIter the analysis oI the

parameters used in algorithm, it was Iound that the change in

parameters did not bring about a signiIicant improvement Ior

solving quality.

(3) The square line oI integrated algorithm: The Iormer 34

iterations implement the GA, and the later 8 iterations

implement the ant colony algorithm. The optimal solution

Iitness rises Irom 0.46 to 0.8126 in early 20 iterations with

rapid rising trend. During the 21

st

to 32

nd

iterations, the optimal

solution Iitness rises Irom 0.8126 to 0.8152, with gentle rising

trend. According to the aIorementioned ending condition Ior

the GA, it can be drawn that GA convergence rate has become

too slow and the solving eIIiciency is relatively low. ThereIore,

aIter the 34

th

iteration the ACA starts to search optimal

solutions.

During the Iinal 8 iterations, the optimal values rise Irom

0.8152 to 0.8219. It can be Iigured out that algorithm eIIiciency

is high in this period, but the convergence rate can not be

judged.

By comparing Iitness values oI GA and integrated algorithm,

2008 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2008) 3619

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conclusion can be drawn that in the same circumstance, the

integrated algorithm is superior to the genetic algorithm on

solving time and the eIIiciency. In the integrated algorithm, the

ACA converges to the optimal solution by only 8 iterations. As

previous experiments have Iound, the algorithms based on the

ant colony to solve partner selection is more easily converging

into local optimum. However, with the ant colony algorithm in

the integrated algorithm, the integrated algorithm can

eventually converges to a better solution, which is somewhat

unexpected. This may be because in the integrated algorithm,

the genetic algorithm implemented in initial search stages has

produced a relatively good solution that provides the initial

pheromone Ior the ant colony algorithm, which greatly reduces

the blindness search in the initial search state oI the ant colony

algorithm. The good candidates oI initial pheromone make the

ants being able to compare the right search directions, thereby

to be quickly seeking a better solution.

VI. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE RESEARCH

Virtual enterprise partner selection problem is a very

complicated issue due to selection involving a number oI

Iactors. Studies show that using diIIerent methods Ior diIIerent

examples may result in diIIerent conclusions. Although

experiments in this paper have proved that our integrated

algorithm Ior partner selection method is Ieasible and in some

respects is superior to genetic algorithm and ant colony

algorithm, many unresolved issues need to Iurther

investigation. For example, more example data need to be used

to test the Iusing algorithm, and considering more Iactors in

core competence into the search space is another direction.

ThereIore, Iurther research work mainly Iocuses on using

diIIerent virtual enterprise partner selection examples to veriIy

integrated algorithm. On the other hands, how to identiIy the

best integration time Ior starting ant colony algorithm and

ending genetic algorithm is more interested in.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to thank three anonymous reIerees

Ior their constructive suggestions and comments.

REFERENCES

|1| D. Wang, X.-C. Yang, and G.-R. Wang, 'Implementation oI Partner

Selection in Virtual Enterprise Based on Fuzzy-AHP (in Chinese).

Journal of northeastern universitv, 2002, Vol. 21, No. 6, pp 606~609.

|2| H.-Y. Cao, and D.-W. Wang, 'A Genetic Algorithm Ior A

Multi-Objective Optimization Model Ior Partner Selection in Virtual

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pp 348~351.

|3| X.-B. Liu, X.-W. Huang and T.-Y. Gao, 'The Method and Realizing

System oI Selecting Enterprise Partner Ior Virtual Enterprises (in

Chinese), Industrial Engineering Journal, 2001, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp10~13.

|4| S. Talluri and R. C. A. Bake, 'Quantitative Iramework Ior designing

eIIicient business process alliance, in International ConIerence on

Engineering Management and Control, 1996, Vancouver: Lonely Planet

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|5| E. Qi, Z.-F. Mao and Y.-F. Huo, 'Study on Summarization oI Virtual

Enterprise Development (in Chinese), Manufacture Technologv and

Tool, 2004, Vol. 9,NO. 1, pp37-41

|6| W.-D. Feng, J. Chen, and C.-J. Zhao, 'Partner selection process and

optimization model Ior virtual corporations based on genetic algorithms

(in Chinese), Journal of Tsinghua Universitv, 2000, 40(10): 120-124

|7| J. H. Holland, Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Svstems, Detroit: Ann

Arbor University oI Michigan Press, 1975

|8| Z.-H. Xiong, S.-K. Sikun, and J.-H. Chen, 'Hardware/SoItware

Partitioning Based on Dynamic Combination oI Genetic Algorithm and

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|9| T. Jarimo and A. Salo, 'Optimal Partner Selection in Virtual

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pdI-Iiles/mjar07.pdI

|10| Z..-J. Wu and Z. Yao, 'An Improved Model and Algorithm Based on Ant

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|11| T. Stutzle, and H. H. Hoos, 'Max-Min Ant System, Future Generation

Computer Svstem, 2000, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp889~914.

|12| N.-Q. Wu, and P. Su, 'Selection oI partners in virtual enterprise

paradigm, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 2005 Vol.

21, pp119-131

|13| J.-L. Ding, Z.-Q. Chen and Z.-Z. Yuan , 'On the Combination oI Genetic

Algorithm and Ant Algorithm(in Chinese), Journal of Computer

Research and Development, 2003, Vol. 40, No.9, pp1351-1356

|14| L. Zhao and W.-W. Ma, 'Review oI Western Virtual Enterprise (in

Chinese),` Chinese and Foreign Entrepreneurs, 2002, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp

62-66

|15| B. Wu and Z.-Z. Shi, 'An Ant Colony Algorithm Based Partition

Algorithm Ior TSP (in Chinese), Chinese Journal of Computers, 2001,

Vol. 24, No. 12, pp1328-1333.

|16| L. M. Camarinha-Matos and H. AIsarmanesh. Infrastructures for Jirtual

Enterprises - Networking Industrial Enterprises, Kluwer Academic

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|17| A. Gunasekaran and E. W. T. Ngai, 'Virtual supply-chain management,

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|18| M. Dorigo & T. Sttzle, 2004. Ant Colonv Optimi:ation, MIT Press,

USA.

|19| Mathworks Inc. MATLAB 6, 2006.

3620 2008 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2008)

Authorized licensed use limited to: MALAVIYA NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on May 14,2010 at 06:23:55 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

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