Vol 4 (2013)

Cover Page


Fast approximate (LP-relaxed) solution to a 3D-packing optimization problem. The maximization of the loaded cargo is a very demanding task, frequently arising in space engineering, when dealing with cargo accommodation of modules and vehicles. Complex rules are supposed to be taken into account, in compliance with strict balancing conditions and very tight operational restrictions. The International Space Station (ISS) project, with its logistic support necessity, has paved the way to a relevant research and development activity. The dedicated in-house packing software CAST (Cargo Accommodation Support Tool), funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), has been conceived by Thales Alenia Space for this purpose. Extensively utilized to carry out the whole loading of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV, ESA), it has been further adapted to an ad hoc version, tailored to support the Columbus (ISS attached laboratory) on-board stowage. Mixed integer linear (MIP) and non-linear formulations have been thought up to tackle complex non-standard packing problems. A specific non-linear approach is aimed at improving initial approximate LP-relaxed solutions, whose graphical representation is provided by the cover image (where overlapping between items is allowed). More details can be found in G. Fasano, A. Castellazzo, Commun. Appl. Ind. Math., Vol 4, e-449 (2013), doi:10.1685/journal.caim.449

Image Credit: Giorgio Fasano, Alessandro Castellazzo, Thales Alenia Space Italia S.p.A., Turin, Italy

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Communications in Applied and Industrial Mathematics
ISSN: 2038-0909