Packing unequal circles using formulation space search (with C.O. Lopez) Computers & Operations Research, vol.40, no.5, 2013, pp1276-1288

In this paper we present a heuristic algorithm for the problem of packing unequal circles in a fixed size container such as the unit circle, the unit square or a rectangle. We view the problem as being one of scaling the radii of the unequal circles so that they can all be packed into the container. Our algorithm is composed of an optimisation phase and an improvement phase. The optimisation phase is based on the formulation space search method whilst the improvement phase creates a perturbation of the current solution by swapping two circles. The instances considered in this work can be categorised into two: instances with large variations in radii and instances with small variations in radii. We consider six different containers: circle, square, rectangle, right-angled isosceles triangle, semicircle and circular quadrant. Computational results show improvements over previous work in the literature.

Keywords: circle packing; formulation space search

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J E Beasley