Designing optimal aviation baggage screening strategies using simulated annealing

Thomas J. Candalino, John E. Kobza, Sheldon H. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Terrorist activities are a critical threat to domestic aviation security. Current aviation security models created to address this threat are descriptive rather than prescriptive; they evaluate a given baggage screening strategy rather than identify optimal baggage screening strategies. Moreover, these models only incorporate costs associated with purchasing and operating baggage screening security devices. This research introduces a comprehensive cost function that not only includes direct costs associated with the purchase and operation of baggage screening security devices, but also includes indirect costs associated with device errors. A methodology is presented to determine the best selection of baggage screening security devices that minimizes the expected annual total cost of a baggage screening strategy. Computational experiments with this methodology are presented. Scope and purpose This research presents an optimization-based tool for designing effective aviation security systems. The tool uses a broader cost model than previous tools. It also uses a simulated annealing heuristic to identify lower cost system configurations. This study evaluates the tool's performance for a set of input parameter values in order to recommend appropriate settings for practical use of the tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1753-1767
Number of pages15
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Aviation security
  • Cost analysis
  • Simulated annealing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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