Researchers Nir Perel from Tel Aviv University, Jan-Pieter Dorsman (CWI and TU/e) and Maria Vlasiou (CWI and TU/e) won the Best Paper Award for their paper ‘Cyclic-type polling models with preparation times’ in the area Methodologies and Technologies at the 2nd International Conference on Operations Research and Enterprise Systems (ICORES 2013). The conference took place in Barcelona from 16-18 February 2013.
The paper considers a queuing model consisting of a server serving in sequence a fixed number of stations. At each of these stations, there is an infinite queue of customers that first have to undergo a preparation phase before being served. This model is an extension of a so-called `polling model' and has wide applications in enterprise systems. The model particularly finds applications in systems where the order of service of the customers is important. For example, a typical operating
strategy in healthcare clinics is to have a specialist rotate among several stations. The preparation phase then represents the preliminary service a patient typically receives from an assistant or nurse. The model however originates from warehousing. It can be used to analyze storage facilities with bi-directional carousels, where a picker serves in turns the carousels. The rotation time the carousel needs to bring the item to the origin is then represented by the preparation phase, while the service time is the actual picking time. For this queuing model, the authors study the waiting time of the server and obtain several insights into the effects of the model’s parameters to the performance of the server.