Journal Publications

Decentralized Supply Chain Formation using Max-Sum Loopy Belief Propagation.
M. Winsper, M. Chli, in Computational Intelligence, Volume 29, Issue 2, pages 281-309, Wiley-Blackwell, May 2013.


Supply chain formation is the process by which a set of producers within a network determine the subset of these producers able to form a chain to supply goods to one or more consumers at the lowest cost. This problem has been tackled in a number of ways, including auctions, negotiations, and argumentation-based approaches. In this paper we show how this problem can be cast as an optimization of a pairwise cost function. Optimizing this class of energy functions is NP-hard (Boykov et al., 2001) but efficient approximations to the global minimum can be obtained using loopy belief propagation (LBP). Here we detail a max-sum LBP-based approach to the supply chain formation problem, involving decentralized message-passing between supply chain participants. Our approach is evaluated against a well-known decentralized double-auction method and an optimal centralized technique, showing several improvements on the auction method: it obtains better solutions for most network instances which allow for competitive equilibrium while also optimally solving problems where no competitive equilibrium exists, for which the double-auction method frequently produces inefficient solutions.


Supply chain formation; Max-sum algorithm; Loopy belief propagation.