TR2003-62

Marginalizing Out Future Passengers in Group Elevator Control



Group elevator scheduling is an NP-hard sequential decision-making problem with unbounded state spaces and substantial uncertainty. Decision-theoretic reasoning plays a surprisingly limited role in fielded systems. A new opportunity for probabilistic methods has opened with the recent discovery of a tractable solution for the expected waiting times of all passengers in the building, marginalized over all possible passenger itineraries. Though commercially competitive, this solution does not contemplate future passengers. Yet in up-peak traffic, the effects of future passengers arriving at the lobby and entering elevator cars can dominate all waiting times. We develop a probabilistic model of how these arrivals affect the behavior of elevator cars at the lobby, and demonstrate how this model can be used to very significantly reduce the average waiting time of all passengers.