Our coverage assumes no background in scheduling, and for stochastic scheduling topics, only a familiarity with basic probability concepts is required. In addition to its eighteen chapters, the book contains three appendices. The first reviews the salient properties of well-known probability distributions, as background for our coverage of stochastic models. It also introduces some specialized topics on which some of our advanced coverage is based. The second appendix includes background derivations related to the “critical ratio rule,” which arises frequently in safe scheduling models. Our third appendix is an introduction to the formulation of sequencing models as integer programs.
This book is an updated version of Ken Baker’s text, Introduction to Sequencing and Scheduling (ISS). ISS was published by John Wiley & Sons in 1973 and became the dominant textbook in scheduling theory. A generation of instructors and graduate students relied on that book as the key source of information for advanced work in sequencing and scheduling. Later books stayed abreast of developments in the field, but as citations in journal articles indicate, those books were seldom treated as fundamental to the study of scheduling.
Sales of ISS slowed by 1980, and Wiley eventually gave up the copyright. Although they found a publishing house interested in buying the title, Baker took back the copyright. For several years, he provided generous photocopying privileges to instructors who were still interested in using the material, even though some of it had become outdated. Finally, in the early 1990s, he revised the book. The sequel was Elements of Sequencing and Scheduling (ESS), self-published in 1992 and expanded in 1995. Less encyclopedic than its predecessor, ESS was rewritten to be readable and accessible to the student while still providing an intellectual springboard to the field of scheduling theory. Without advertising or sales reps, and without a publishing house, ESS sold several hundred copies in paperback through 2007. Another generation of advanced undergraduate and graduate students used the book in courses, while other graduate students were simply assigned the book as required reading for independent studies or qualifying exams. Current research articles in scheduling continue to cite ISS and/or ESS as the source of basic knowledge on which today’s research is being built.
Perhaps the most important topic missing from ESS was stochastic scheduling. With the exception of the chapter on job shop simulation, almost all the coverage dealt with deterministic models. In the last 15 years, research has focused as much on stochastic models as on deterministic models, and stochastic scheduling has become a significant part of the field. But traditional approaches to stochastic scheduling have their limitations, and new approaches are currently being developed. This book updates the coverage of ESS, integrating the basics of safe scheduling as well as traditional stochastic scheduling. Its title reinforces the experiences of two generations of students and scholars, providing a thread that establishes this volume as the latest update of a classic text.