[R] Allocating shelf space

S Ellison S.Ellison at lgc.co.uk
Fri May 11 15:41:34 CEST 2007

Isn't this rather closely related to the (more or less classic) bin packing and knapsack problems? The 'hardness' of the problem is combinatoric (NP) and that is statistical, but the answers aren't particularly statistical. Both have been studied quite a lot for pragmatic reasons (packing products with minimal packaging etc), so there is quite a large literature out there somewhere 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bin_packing_problem is one possible starting point.


>>> ted.harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk 09/05/2007 18:23:56 >>>
Hi Folks,

This is not an R question as such, though it may well have
an R answer. (And, in any case, this community probably
knows more about most things than most others ... indeed,
has probably pondered this very question).

I: Given a "catalogue" of hundreds of books, where each
"entry" has author and title (or equivalent ID), and also

Ia) The dimensions (thickness, height, depth) of the book
Ib) A sort of classification of its subject/type/genre

II: Given also a specification of available and possibly
potential bookshelf space (numbers of book-cases, the width,
height and shelf-spacing of each, and the dimensions of any
free wall-space where further book-cases may be placed),
where some book-cases have fixed shelves and some have shelves
with (discretely) adjustable position, and additional book-cases
can be designed to measure (probably with adjustable shelves).

Question: Is there a resource to approach the solution of the
problem of optimising the placement of adjustable shelves,
the design of additional bookcases, and the placement of the
books in the resulting shelf-space so as to

A: Make the efficient use of space
B: Minimise the spatial disclocation of related books
   (it is acceptable to separate large books from small books
   on the same subject, for the sake of efficient packing).

Awaiting comments and suggestions with interest!
With thanks,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <ted.harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 09-May-07                                       Time: 18:23:53
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