Adaptive scheduling in service systems: A Dynamic programming approach

Roshan Mahes (Corresponding author), Michel Mandjes, Marko Boon, Peter Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


This paper considers appointment scheduling in a setting in which at every client arrival the schedule of all future clients can be adapted. Starting our analysis with an explicit treatment of the case of exponentially distributed service times, we then develop a phase-type-based approach to also cover cases in which the service times’ squared coefficient of variation differs from 1. The approach relies on dynamic programming, with the state information being the number of clients waiting, the elapsed service time of the client in service, and the number of clients still to be scheduled. The use of dynamic schedules is illustrated through a set of numerical experiments, showing (i) the effect of wrongly assuming exponentially distributed service times, and (ii) the gains (over static schedules, that is) achieved by rescheduling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-626
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)


  • Appointment scheduling
  • Dynamic programming
  • Queueing
  • Service systems


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