Keywords: Bin Packing Problem, Online 3D-BPP, Reinforcement Learning
Abstract: Online 3D Bin Packing Problem (3D-BPP) has widespread applications in industrial automation and has aroused enthusiastic research interest recently. Existing methods usually solve the problem with limited resolution of spatial discretization, and/or cannot deal with complex practical constraints well. We propose to enhance the practical applicability of online 3D-BPP via learning on a novel hierarchical representation – packing configuration tree (PCT). PCT is a full-fledged description of the state and action space of bin packing which can support packing policy learning based on deep reinforcement learning (DRL). The size of the packing action space is proportional to the number of leaf nodes, making the DRL model easy to train and well-performing even with continuous solution space. During training, PCT expands based on heuristic rules, however, the DRL model learns a much more effective and robust packing policy than heuristic methods. Through extensive evaluation, we demonstrate that our method outperforms all existing online BPP methods and is versatile in terms of incorporating various practical constraints.
One-sentence Summary: We propose to enhance the practical applicability of online 3D-BPP via learning on a hierarchical packing configuration tree which makes the DRL model easy to deal with practical constraints and well-performing even with continuous solution space.
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