Publications / 2014 Proceedings of the 31st ISARC, Sydney, Australia

Employing Ant Colony for the Optimal Reduction of Project Risk Severity

N.Y. Zabel, M.E. Georgy, M.E. Ibrahim
Pages 398-403 (2014 Proceedings of the 31st ISARC, Sydney, Australia, ISBN 978-0-646-59711-9, ISSN 2413-5844)

Efforts undertaken in identifying, analyzing and assessing project risks are only made good use of when proper risk treatment strategies are decided upon and pursued. Based on the criteria established by senior management, the risk management plan goes about defining how each risk is to be handled. There are options to that end, including acceptance, avoidance, transfer and mitigation. Whilst these strategies are known to all in the industry, the decision-making process is far from easy. A research was undertaken to optimize risk treatment in construction projects, where both costs and benefits are balanced out at the project level. The paper particularly introduces Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) as a capable algorithm for the balanced selection of risk treatment strategies; that is to reduce the overall risk severity in a project at the minimum cost possible. ACO resembles the real life behavior of ants in their intelligent and guided search for food. The research is being applied in the pipeline construction sector and made use of professional knowledge and project records from a big construction company in the Middle East. The paper further presents an example project to demonstrate how ACO explores the risk treatment alternatives in a project and chooses the optimal set of strategies in such context.

Keywords: Risk management, Risk treatment, Risk mapping, Optimization, Ant Colony