Precedence permutation patterns creating criticality constellations: Exploring a conjecture on nonlinear activities with continuous links

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The inaugural challenge of the 2016 Creative Construction Conference has posed two related questions on how many possible criticality constellations with different behaviors for delays and acceleration exist and how said constellations can occur for nonlinearly and monotonously progressing activities that have continuous relations. This paper systematically solves these questions by performing a thorough literature review, assembling theoretical foundations for link constellations, performing a computer simulation of all possible permutations, and providing a mathematical proof by contradiction. It is found that (for the initially assumed self-contained activities in a network schedule that exhibit only a linearly growing production), three newly hypothesized criticality constellations cannot exist. Nonlinear activity constellations with diverging or converging relative pro­ductivities are examined next. Lags in networks become buffers in linear schedules. It is found that a nonlinear curvature of the progress may induce middle-to-middle relations besides those between start and finish. If multiple curvatures are allowed, then partial segments can form relations, which increase the number of criticality constellations. This paper is extended from the 2017 Procedia Engineering conference version.

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