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Proceedings of the 2007 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design

An Effective Chromosome Representation for Optimising Product Quality

Chen-Fang Tsai1; Kuo-Ming Chao2 Department of Industrial Management, Aletheia University, Taiwan, R.O.C. 2 Department of Computer and Network Systems, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 5FB, UK

Optimising variables in the quality control of production can be a complex issue, as it may involve many different constraints and expectations on the quality of products which are normally provided from different organisations to form a multiple supply chain. The challenge of measuring product interdependence across various supply chains and identifying a trade-off between quality and cost is not trivial. In this research, which applies dynamic Genetic Algorithms, we propose a new approach to representing the problem domain within the chromosome which takes advantage of schema evolution and domain knowledge to refine the chromosome structure. As a result, different weightings can be derived and applied to the genes in order to improve searching efficiency of the Genetic Algorithms (GA). An example of multiple supply chains has been used to evaluate the proposed approach. The results show that the proposed approach outperforms traditional GA approaches. Keywords: multiple supply chain optimizations; dynamic genetic algorithms; weight rankings and contribution ratio.

it is a very effective and efficient approach in identifying solutions in a large and complex search space. Genetic algorithms have had success in single function optimizations [1]. Multiple optimizations problems are difficult to solve because of the complexity generated by multiple inputs and outputs [2]. Multiple supply chains management is a broad field which aims to optimise supply chain operations by preventing and correcting corporation problems [13]. It attempts to seek a balance between the quality and the cost reduction in multiple chain environments. However, due to the multiple variables and objectives involved in the applications, existing search algorithms are not appropriate. Therefore, this research proposes a chromosome refinement procedure to adjust the structure and order of the genes within the chromosome to improve GA searching efficiency. This paper is structured as follows: Section 2 proposes a dynamic tuning mechanism for improving the performance of genetic algorithms. Section 3 presents the structures of supply multi-chains. Section 4 validates experimental result of Chromosome Refinement for GA evolutions. Section 5 concludes the finding of this research and discusses our possible future work.

1. Introduction
A Genetic Algorithm (GA) is a directed randomized search procedure. The basic structure processed by GA is a chromosome which includes a number of genes to represent the problem and solution domains. A schema is a pattern of genes consisting of a subset of genes located at certain positions. The presence of schemata explains the power of the GA search because they improve its efficiency and effectiveness The better a schema contributes, the more of its genes will be preserved for the next generation. It is assumed that an individual's high fitness chromosome owes its fitness to the fact that it contains good schemata. By passing on more of these good schemata to the next generation, the likelihood of finding better solutions increases in the search process. The applications of GAs to optimization problems have been very successful due to the fact that

2. The Schemata behaviours of Genetic Algorithms

Genetic algorithms utilized the Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest and are embedded in the hypothesis of evolution and natural genetics. They are population-based search techniques and engaged randomised search trials. Previous studies illustrated that a good way to explore the search space is to assign reproductive trials to individuals in proportion to their fitness function relative to the rest of the population. In this manner, good schemata obtain an exponentially increasing number of trials in successive generations [11]. Schemata are implicitly handled by the GA in parallel, which justifies claims for the efficiency and effectiveness of their performance in search [4]. The intent of the schema theory is to form the basis for a

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better understanding of how a Genetic Algorithm works. A successful coding for a chromosome will ensure that related genes are close together in the chromosome, whilst there is little interaction between them. Interaction between genes means that the contribution of a gene to the fitness depends on the value of other genes in chromosomes. In fact some interactions between genes likely take place in multiple fitness functions [10], so it requires appropriate management. Schemata are also called similarity subsets because they represent subsets of strings with similar patterns at certain fixed position. These are schemata of short defining length consisting of bits which work well together, and tend to lead to improved performance when incorporated into a chromosome [12]. In many cases, the exact nature of the relationship between the genes may not be known initially to the designers due to the complexity of the problem domain. If we can ensure that each gene only interacts with a small number of other genes and these can be placed together on the chromosome when it is appropriate, then the problem of the interaction can be solved. But if there is a lot of interaction between genes due to the nature of the problem domain, then, we should try to design coding schemes to ensure that the GA will work as well as possible. This is the reason for the approach taken in this research, which tries to use the domain knowledge for the multiple supply chains to refine the chromosome structure [7]. This usually leads to an improvement in the GAs search. Its goal is the regain of good genes that were lost in the selection process when poor performance mates are selected instead of good ones. The next section describes the procedures of chromosome refinement.

In our research, a controller is proposed that includes three mechanisms i.e. Gene Identification, Gene Grouping and Gene Ordering for chromosome refinement. The Gene Identification evaluates the relative effect of each gene on the fitness function. In our Gene Identification, we attempt to identify the beneficial genes within the chromosome structure in three stages. First, we calculate the importance of the genes to the total fitness in terms of ratio. Then, we select control variables from the fitness value, by using policy oriented selection [15]. Finally, we analyse the relationships between the importance ratio and the control variables with reference to the process policy. In Gene Grouping, the system employs cluster analysis by domain knowledge to define the grouping relationships between genes. Initially, the control parameters will be arranged in a sequence of groups and then [7], the system will attempt to identify subgroup relationships within the individual groups in order to reduce the search space. After Gene Identification and Grouping, we apply Gene Ordering to optimise the gene sequence of the chromosome. The system employs the total value of importance ratio and relationship value to arrange the gene sequence within each gene group. Over evolutions, the system attempts to recognise the beneficial genes and fix values for these genes as well as their positions in order to refine search space. The next section introduces a new procedure for chromosome refinement.

2.2 The dynamic tuning processes of chromosome refinement

The preservation of beneficial genetic material is important during crossover and mutation. The schema theorem implies that the disruptive effects of crossover and mutation are detrimental to the efficiency of the genetic search. However, these are often necessary for complex problems with a rugged fitness landscape. Clearly, an approach which reduces the disruption of beneficial building blocks is useful in preventing the loss of important genes [11]. Hence, we employ the GA evolution evidence and problem domain knowledge to adjust the positions of the genes within the chromosome. In our research, the approach applied three operations: Gene Identification (GI), Gene Grouping (GG) and Gene Ordering (GO). The refinement processes are shown as the Figure 1.

2.1 Chromosome Refinement

The GAs chromosome consists of groups of variables, which are represented by groups of genes. The arrangement of these genes significantly affects the GAs performance, and an improper choice for the chromosome structure will often result in poor performance. It is therefore very important to design a good structure for the chromosome. Hence, we employ a chromosome refinement mechanism to adjust the order of the genes within the chromosome. In previous studies, several approaches have been employed for the identification stage, such as: expert systems using domain knowledge; machine learning by simulations; and factor analysis by the statistical analysis [3][7][12].


In our Gene Identification, we attempt to identify the beneficial genes within the chromosome structure in three stages. First, we calculate the fitness ratio between the genes and the sub-gene groups. Then, we select control variables (i.e. the larger cost factor, such as the penalty cost) according to the fitness value, or by using the GA evolution evidence or policy variables (the policies are derived from the domain knowledge). Finally, we analyse the relationships between the ratio and the control variables to produce a ranking for the variables, and a priority weighting is assigned according to the ratio. The following describes seven steps to produce a ranking of genes with a chromosome example consisting of six genes. (1). Define the individual Genen for Genetotal value: TC (total cost) = Genei=1 + + Gene i=n = Genetotal value. For example: Gene i=1 = Genevalue1, Gene i=2 = Genevalue2, Gene i=3 = Genevalue3, Gene i=4 = Genevalue4 , Gene i=5 = Genevalue5 , Gene i=6 = Genevalue6. (2). Calculate a ratio between the genes as a percentage of the total fitness: Affecting Ratio (AR) calculation = (GenenAR = Genevalue-n / Genetotal value): For example: Gene1AR, Gene2AR, Gene3AR, Gene4AR, Gene5AR, Gene6AR. (3). Produce a ranking from the ratio of genes, arranged to place the best at the front and the worst at the end. For example, Gene5 (30%) is the best and Gene6 (4.5%) is the worst, hence, the row sequence is (Gene5AR = 0.3) > (Gene2AR = 0.25) > (Gene3AR = 0.2) > (Gene1AR = 0.15) > (Gene4AR = 0.055) > (Gene6AR = 0.045). Gene sequence: Gene5 => Gene2 => Gene3 => Gene1 => Gene4 => Gene6 (3). Apply a cost value weighting vector (Genew-n => 0.8, 0.6, 0.4, 0.2, 0.15, 0.05) and assign the largest value 0.8 to the best one (Gene5) and the smallest value 0.05 to the worst one (Gene6) and calculate the adjusted ratio for the six genes: (The cost value * weighting). For example: Gene5-CV = (Gene5AR =0.3 * Genew-1= 0.8) = 0.24; Gene2-CV = (Gene2AR =0.25 * Genew-2=0.6) = 0.15; Gene3-CV = (Gene35AR =0.2 * Genew-3=0.4) = 0.08; Gene1-CV = (Gene1AR = 0.15 * Genew-4 = 0.2) = 0.03; Gene4-CV = (Gene4AR =0.055 * Genew-5= 0.15) = 0.00825; Gene6-CV = (Gene6AR =0.045 * Genew-6=0.05) = 0.00225 (4). Derive the control variables from domain knowledge of the problem. In the example the

control variables (CV) selection = Gene1, Gene5, Gene2. (5). Assign weightings (Genew-1 = 0.8, Genew-2 = 0.6, Genew-3 = 0.4) to these three genes. Then produce the control variable ratio by multiplying their original gene ratios by these weights. For example: (Genew-1 = 0.8, Genew-2 = 0.6, Genew-3 = 0.4); GeneCV-1 = (Gene1AR * Genew-1 = 0.15*0.8) = 0.12; GeneCV-5 = (Gene5AR * Genew-2= 0.3*0.6) = 0.18; GeneCV-2 = (Gene2AR * Genew-3= 0.25*0.4) = 0.01. (6). Find the mean of the adjusted ratio and control variable ratio GeneVR2-mean = (Gene2-CV+ GeneCV-2). For example: GeneCV2-mean = (0.15 + 0.01)/2 =0.08; GeneCV5-mean = (0.24 + 0.18)/2 =0.21; GeneCV1-mean = (0.03 + 0.12)/2 =0.075. (7). Produce a final ranking for the genes. For the example: Gene5 = 0.21; Gene2 = 0.08; Gene1 =0.075; Gene3 =0.06; Gene4 =0.00825; Gene6 = 0.00225. The resulting gene sequence: Gene5 => Gene2 => Gene1 => Gene3 => Gene4 => Gene6 (note that after considering the control variable effect, Gene1 and Gene3 are swapped). In Gene Grouping, the process parameter controller employs the ratio of the fitness value (i.e. a ratio of the relative fitness of the genes), together with domain knowledge (i.e. production and maintenance policies) and the ranking sequence, to define the grouping relationships between genes. Initially, the control variables are arranged in a subgroup and the rest of the variables are placed in another group. The higher fitness ratios and strongly related factors (using domain expertise) are then selected to break down these subgroups into smaller subgroups. The operation is repeated until no subgroup contains more than three to five (genes) variables depending on the complexity of the problem. This procedure is intended to find the best subgroup for the chromosomes. Applying the same data from the previous example, the procedure of gene ranking can be made in relation to descending order of their fitness ratios. The same sequence of genes is produced as follows. Gene sequence: Gene5 => Gene2 => Gene1 => Gene3 => Gene4 => Gene6 With consideration of control variables, (Gene1, Gene2, Gene5); they are grouped as follows.


Gene Grouping: [(Gene1, Gene2, Gene5), (Gene3, Gene4, Gene6)]. Once Gene Identification and Grouping have been carried out, Gene Ordering can be applied to optimise the gene sequence in the chromosome. This approach employs the ranking sequence of the fitness ratio to arrange the gene sequence within each gene group according to their fitness in descending order. Then, the use of accumulation of the total ratio value of the subgroup and the ranking of these values are able to find the sequence for the chromosome. Over several evolutions, the beneficial genes can be recognised and the beneficial values with certain genes can be fixed, as well as their positions, to produce a refined structure for chromosomes. The next procedure for Gene Grouping is based on the adjacent gene (i.e. similar ranking ratio). We take the gene group; for example: If Gene Grouping = [(Gene1, Gene5, Gene2), (Gene6, Gene4, Gene3)], then arrange the gene order according to the ranking ratio; (Gene5 = 0.21; Gene2 = 0.08; Gene1 =0.075; Gene3 =0.06; Gene4 =0.00825; Gene6 = 0.00225.); and Gene sequence: (Gene5 => Gene2 => Gene1 => Gene3 => Gene4 => Gene6); and Gene Ordering: [(Gene5 => Gene2 => Gene1); (Gene3 => Gene4 => Gene6)]. After the chromosome has been refined, the evidence about the fitness ratios for the genes and sub-gene groups can be collected. These provide very useful information for ranking, because these can be used to assign weights for the individual supply chain during the evolution. Therefore, this method presents an alternative approach to the refinement of chromosome structure based upon the building block theory. These ratios are more appropriate as they can reflect the inter-relationships between supply chains. This provides a better alternative method to assign weightings for the cost function in supply chains. Once the chromosome has been refined and the weights have been assigned, it is necessary to have another genetic algorithm module to verify the results. A test-bed of supply multi-chains module is introduced in order to evaluate the proposed approach.

The required optimisation function needs to accommodate the following factors: different chains operating policies, service rates and lead time intervals. Consequently, the search space is computationally large and difficult to traverse, so its complication is sufficient to test the proposed approach. Multiple supply chains can be represented as a group of single supply chains. They consist of product design management chains; sourcing management chains; subcontract management chains; logistic management chains; quality management chains [8] [9]. The central chain directs and integrates sub-chain operations in order to achieve the common goals. However, the subchains have to cooperate with the central chain by providing information and changing their parameters accordingly. All chains are connected if they are supplied by the same central chain or if they are subcontracts for the same central chain. The central chain also plays the role of integrating different functions supported by different suppliers to form a functionchain. New product design is considered in terms of the modularization of parts and processes, and using the substitution of design specification [6]. These design strategies are applied for the optimization of the customer design stage in the chain of operations. The production chains include production lines and subcontracted suppliers for the production lines. [5]. Different integration chains will apply different selections of production combinations. Quality chains attempt to maintain the quality steadiness in the process by relying on inspectors searching and preventing quality problems ahead of their effected processes [3]. The quality chain can identify assignable causes by judging the unstable causes when the quality level goes outside the quality limit bound. An effective control on the quality can reduce the cost of revising imperfect products. The total cost (TC) is formulated as follows: Total Cost (TCtsfpo) = the cost of product design; ( PDCtsfpo) + the cost of production;
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1


3. Structure of Supply Multi-Chains

Supply chain controllers need to adopt some form of optimization method in order to select proper process parameters, when they undertake the design of an efficient supply chain. The optimization design is the Economic Design of Multiple Supply Chains (EDMSC), which a well-established methodology, having been extensively applied to the design of supply chain systems. The model attempts to enhance the effectiveness of supply chains, especially by shortening the response time in decision making [14]. The adopted application domain for the case study is the EDMSC multiple chains in the luggage industry.


t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

TPCtsfpo) + the cost of quality;

( TQCtsfpo).
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

(T= Time period; S = Number of suppliers; F = Number of factories; P = Number of products; O = Number of customer orders). The individual variables for the total cost of multichains will be presented and analysed in terms of the product design; production; and quality supply chain dimensions. The product design supply multi-chains include four parts: Investment Cost (IV); Setup Cost (SC); Inventory


Cost in Work In Process (ICwip(i)); Inventory Cost in Buffer Stock (ICbuf(i)) as follows: TDCtsfpo = Investment Cost; ( IVtsfpo) +
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 T S F P O

4. Experimental result of Chromosome Refinement for GA evolutions

The optimization test-bed is an Economic Design of Multiple Supply Chains (EDMSC). In this case, the EDMSC multiple chains consist of the EDMSC1 and EDMSC2 from the luggage industry. The EDMSC1 quality chain consists of a product design management chain, whereas the EDMSC2 quality chain consists of a production design management chain. These chain functions are varied according to the diverse chain operating policies, risk rates and lead time intervals. Our experiments utilised a process parameter controller to find good chromosomes for improving performance. The improvement can be verified through comparing the results produced by two different set of process parameters; one non-refined and the other refined by the process parameter. The purpose of this trial is to determine whether chromosome refinement is able to improve the efficiency of the GA in the EDMSC1 and EDMSC2. Table 1 and Table 2 represent T-test on the twosample assuming unequal variances of EDMSC1 and EDMSC2 and that the effect of the GA parameters on the GA behaviour is determined by the two different chromosome structures. The results show that the refined structure was significantly better than the nonrefined structure that produced better mean, variance and P-value. Thus there is significant difference in the performance of these two methods, due to the large variance of the dynamic setting. The overall experimental results on the chromosome refinement method indicated that the dynamic chromosome structure always performed better than the static chromosome structure in the GA search. The better performance is shown in that the cost found using the refined chromosome always remains below that found using the unrefined chromosome. Table 1 A comparison refined and non-refined structure for EDMSC1 t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Unequal Variances EDMSC non-refined Refined Mean 7552.5 6645 Variance 1112971 121857 Standard Deviation 1054.975 349.0804 P-value 0.023908 Table 2 A comparison refined and non-refined structure for EDMSC2 t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Unequal Variances EDMSC non-refined Refined Mean 8978.75 7683.125 Variance 1741863 1520564 Standard Deviation 1319.796 1233.111 P-value 0.031013

Setup Cost; ( SCtsfpo) + Inventory Cost;

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 O


( WIPtsfpo) + Inventory Cost in Buffer

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 T S F


Stock; ( BStsfpo).
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

The mathematic formulation of total cost of production multi-chains is shown as follows: Total (



Fixed +

Opening Setup

Cost; Cost;

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 S F P O


( ( (

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

PSCtsfpo) + Manufacturing Cost; PMCtsfpo) PSCtsfpo) + + Shipping Penalty Cost; Cost;

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1


t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 S F P O

( PPCtsfpo).
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

Different integration chains will apply different selections of production combinations. The total cost of the quality multi-chains contains: the fixed cost; the variable cost of operating quality charts; the cost of searching for false alarms and for searching for assignable causes; the penalty cost of each defective new design product and the cost of the consequent revising actions, and, the cost of the mean moving to the lower bound. These can be formulated as follows: TC = Fixed cost; ( QFCtsfpo) + Variable
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 O T S F P O

cost; ( QVCtsfpo) + Cost of searching;

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 P O




t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

QSCtsfpo) + Cost of searching;

( QSCtsfpo) + Penalty of each defective;

t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 T S F P


t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1 S F P O




( QRPCtsfpo).
t =1 s =1 f =1 p =1 o =1

Various integration chains will choose different sets of variables for their policies. The policy selection depends on the contextual business stage (e.g. research, production, or quality analysis).


It is also shown that the refined structure achieves the better performance on a complicated function.


5. Conclusions
In this paper, we apply genetic algorithms to the EDMSC multiple chains application in a practical and realistic industry environment. In this complex problem domain, multiple supply chain optimizations produce multiple sub-supply chains situations, and an effective ranking method is required. The use of GAs is motivated by the inability of the conventional ranking methods to handle complicated multiple supply chains. In this research, we introduce a new mechanism for the GAs search and the experimental results show that this new approach performs better than the traditional genetic algorithm. The result shows that refinement chromosome performed better than non-refinement chromosome. This is because the proposed method can apply the evolution evidence to assign the appropriate weighting to each supply chain function and thus help the genetic algorithm to emphasise the exploration during the early generations and find the better solution later in the evolution. The approach in this research assumed that the same set of weighting values are applied to all generations. This may hinder the proposed methods performance in a very dynamic environment. In the future research, we shall consider varying the weighting values according to the evidence generated from each generation.


[7] [8]





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