The aim of the research project that is the subject of this thesis is to apply mathematical techniques, especially those in the area of operations research, to the problem of maritime minefield transit. We develop several minefield models applicable to different aspects of the minefield problem. These include optimal mine clearance, shortest time traversal and time constrained traversal. We hope the suite of models and tools developed will help make mine field clearance and traversal both safer and more efficient and that exposition of the models will bring a clearer understanding of the mine problem from a mathematical perspective. In developing the solutions to mine field models, extensive use is made of network path planning algorithms, particularly the Weight Constrained Shortest Path Problem (WCSPP) for which the current state-of-the-art algorithm is extended. This is done by closer integration of Lagrangean relaxation and preprocessing to reduce the size of the network. This is then integrated with gap-closing algorithms based on enumeration to provide optimal or near optimal solutions to the path planning problem. We provide extensive computational evidence on the performance of our algorithm and compare it to other algorithms found in the literature. This tool then became fundamental in solving various separate minefield models. Our models can be broadly separated into obstacle models in which mine affected regions are treated as obstacles to be avoided and continuous threat in which each point of space has an associated risk. In the later case, we wish to find a path that minimizes the integral of the risk along the path while constraining the length of the path. We call this the Continuous Euclidean Length Constrained Minimum Cost Path Problem (C-LCMCPP), for which we present a novel network approach to solving this continuous problem. This approach results in being able to calculate a global lower bound on a non-convex optimization problem.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2008|