The Society for Technology in Anesthesia is pleased to announce it's 11th Annual Engineering Challenge to be held in conjunction with the 2019 Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- At least one member of the team should be a trainee – student, resident, fellow, etc.
- It is permissible to present via Skype (or equivalent video chat)
STA 2019 Engineering Challenge: Quantum Scheduling
Most anesthesiologists have, at some point in their career, been subject to the need to make assignments of staff to transition from daytime to evening coverage. While this is highly dependent on culture, three features are nearly universal:
- Minimize the number of handoffs
- Place providers in their area of expertise
- There is a relief order
This task is typically left to an individual, the board runner, who applies experience and judgment to the problem.
This class of tasks is an example of a constrained optimization problem, and there is considerable interest in computational solutions for these. A recent development in this area is the use of quantum computing. For a background, visit: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-quantum-algorithms-optimization-problems.html
Let’s consider a very simple problem:
Four anesthesiologists with relief order A > B > C > D
Three rooms with predicted end times of 1 > 2 > 3
A is in room 3, B in 1, C in 2, and D shows up for night duty. This can be easily solved on paper if we know the weights for the three rules. Now scale the number of rooms up to 30, throw in a few anesthesiologists who don’t do neuro or thoracic, the ability to staff solo, 2 residents, or 3-4 CRNAs, and the problem quickly becomes difficult. So let’s throw some liquid helium on the problem.
As always, the point of the Engineering Challenge is to educate the membership about a new technology, have fun, and maybe change the world. I’m more interested in how you would solve the problem than seeing a final solution, but the members in attendance are the final arbiters of who does the best job.
STA Engineering Challenge Contact Information:
For questions on the challenge specifications contact:
Jeff E. Mandel, MD, MS
Chair, STA Engineering Challenge