Efficient sequential decision-making algorithms for container inspection operations

David Madigan, Sushil Mittal, Fred Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Following work of Stroud and Saeger (Proceedings of ISI, Springer Verlag, New York, 2006) and Anand et al. (Proceedings of Computer, Communication and Control Technologies, 2003), we formulate a port of entry inspection sequencing task as a problem of finding an optimal binary decision tree for an appropriate Boolean decision function. We report on new algorithms for finding such optimal trees that are more efficient computationally than those presented by Stroud and Saeger and Anand et al. We achieve these efficiencies through a combination of specific numerical methods for finding optimal thresholds for sensor functions and two novel binary decision tree search algorithms that operate on a space of potentially acceptable binary decision trees. The improvements enable us to analyze substantially larger applications than was previously possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-654
Number of pages18
JournalNaval Research Logistics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


  • Boolean function
  • binary decision tree
  • container inspection
  • heuristic algorithms
  • sequential decision making


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