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Archive for December, 2006

Amazon Christmas

* Disclaimer: I know nothing about Amazon DC. The below are just standard practice of distributiong center and graph theory everywhere.

This is the Amazon UK Distribution Center (UKDC). It might look like your regular super market shelf, but there are so much going on in this picture it makes operational research dream land.

First thanks to standardize pallet size, the DC is organized in mahattan layout. Without standardized pallet, we would have much more wasted space. Notice there is no racks here. It because a typical product only stay here for less than 2 weeks before someone orders it and get shipped. When a pallet comes it, it is getting randomly stowed. Ramdomize stowing along with computerized location system minimize mistakes and maximize the efficicy of space use. You stowe them where there is space, so HP1 maybe next to a barbie, instead of HP2. There are less chance of workers picking up the wrong version of HP.
The worker travelling with two basket is picking items for two or more orders. Since each order contain random number of items in random location, you need a picking algoritm to try to find the shortest path to all of them. Yes, travelling salesman. When you store items like this, naturally you would think of mahattan distance. But algorithm is only algorithm, mahattan distance doesn’t account to changing condition such as water spills or falklen boxes that may block the way. So what you do is treat each location as a node, and the time it takes from one node to another as weighted vertices. You start off with mahattan, than adjust the weight based on actual time it takes from worker scanning one item tot he next. Do a travelling saleman on it, then you have your simple picking algorithm.

Add comment December 30th, 2006

Christmas 2006

I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas for 2006. You gave me lots of wonderful memories over the past year. I hope this season warms your heart as much as you warmed mine

Add comment December 27th, 2006

The pursuit of happiness

Went to see Will Smith’s movie this weekend, the pursuit of happiness. It was a beautiful movie. We all have things that’s important to us in our lives, whether its money, social status or just spending time with someone special.  But the truth of the matter is, its not going to be handed to you in a silver platter. Once you figured out, you need to fight for what you want.

Most often than not, it’s about people. I had dinner with a friend last night. He has worked very hard to position to himself to generate a high income.  But I realized what’s really important is he believes the the income will give him social status from other people.  He wants to be some body and income level is goign to give him that.  It’s not about the money, it’s about the people.

At the end of the day, we should be at least as happy as the begining of the day, or know that we are working towords it.

Add comment December 18th, 2006

The weather god

On Fri, Dec 15, 2006 Kavin Du wrote:
>  t’s 60 degree in NY, how’s the weather in Seattle :D
>  Oh right, you need power to check email… My bad

Ouch man – I shall remember these needless insults the next time the  weather gods are unkind to your neck of the woods.

- Ajit

Add comment December 15th, 2006

Juan Gil 2003

Bought this back in Seattle for $13. Really amazing wine. Medium to full body, big fruit, vanilla, cinannman, well balanced. Great for a duck or pork dish, or to drink by itself.

1 comment December 13th, 2006

The price of virtual gold

Tyler at awardtour posted an interesting article on MTV talking about sweatshops in China exploiting our gaming habit.

Add comment December 5th, 2006


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