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In this paper we address the problem of allocating the effort s of a collection of repairmen to a number of deteriorating machines in order to reduce operation costs and to mitigate the cost (and likelihood) of unexpected failures. Notwithstanding these preventive maintenance interventions are aimed at return- ing the machine to a so-called as-good-as-new state, unforeseeable factors may imply that maintenance interventions are not perfect and the machine is only returned to an earlier (uncertain) state of wear. The problem is modelled as a restless bandit problem and an index policy for the sequential allocation of maintenance tasks is proposed. A series of numerical experiments shows the strong performance of the proposed policy. Moreover, the methodology is of interest in the general context of dynamic resource allocation and restless bandit problems, as well as being useful in the particular imperfect maintenance model described.
dynamic programming; machine maintenance; imperfect interventions; index policies; restless bandits