Facility location problems
Author: Aaron Litoff
Stewards: Dajun Yue and Fengqi You
The facility location problem deals with selecting the location of a facility (often from a list of integer possibilities) to best meet demand wether to the next line of customers. Goal here is to most efficiently serve the constraints demanded while doing so at the lowest cost.
The Fermat-Weber problem was one of the first facility location problems every proposed, and was done so as early as the 17th century. It can be thought of as a more general version of the geometric median of three points (assuming tansportation costs per distance are the same for all destinations). It was put forth by the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat to the Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli as follows:
"Given three points in a plane, find a fourth point such that the sum of its distances to the three given points is as small as possible."
In 1909 Alfred Weber used a a three point version to determine the location for industry to minimize transportation costs with the wieghts being This is the simplest continous facility location model.
A modern day engineering interpretation could be as follows:
Find the best location for a refining plant between three cities in such a way that te sum of the connections between the power plant and the cities in minimal.
Finding a factory location which minimizes toal weighted distances from suppliers and customers where weights represent difficulty of transportation or amounts of material
Description and Formulation
Examples and Applications
Suppose you are a manager at a company that builds Warehouse needs to be built in a central location so that the transportation costs are minimized
Applications in physics, solution to Fermat-Weber problem allowing for "repulsion" or negative distances.
 Dorrie, H. (1965) 100 great problems of elementary mathematics: their history and solution. New York, NY: Dover Publications.
Last, F. M. (Year Published) Book. City, State: Publisher.