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Ant Colony Optimisation is a widely researched meta-heuristic which uses the behaviour and pheromone laying activities of foraging ants to find paths through graphs. Since the early 1990’s this approach has been applied to problems such as the Travelling Salesman Problem, Quadratic Assignment Problem and Car Sequencing Problem to name a few. The ACO is not without its problems it tends to find good local optima and not good global optima. To solve this problem modifications have been made to the original ACO such as the Max Min ant system. Other solutions involve combining it with Evolutionary Algorithms to improve results. These improvements focused on the pheromone structures. Inspired by other swarm intelligence algorithms this work attempts to develop a new type of ant to explore different problem paths and thus improve the algorithm. The exploring ant would persist throughout the running time of the algorithm and explore unused paths. The Car Sequencing problem was chosen as a method to test the Exploring Ants. An existing algorithm was modified to implement the explorers. The results show that for the car sequencing problem the exploring ants did not have any positive impact, as the paths they chose were always sub-optimal.
O'Suillivan, K. (2017) The Use of Persistent Explorer Artificial Ants to Solve the Car Sequencing Problem, Masters Dissertation, Dublin Institute of Technology.