These comments relate to the topic of ship-berthing rather than directly to the word "berth" so I guess they're "off topic." You're forewarned. If you're interested in this non-linguistic topic you may wish to read further. (Where do we draw lines between words and their "referents," anyway? Does it help to make words much more alive if we can focus on what they point to?)
I encountered a fascinating document a year or so ago while I was researching ISO (International Organization for Standardization
) inter-modal shipping containers.
(My interest was in personal investment. I was trying to educate myself about the marine shipping industry.
) I was "absolutely blown away" by the professionalism which I discovered. I was also "gob-smacked" by the realization that this most-admirable competence and professionalism was seen EVERYWHERE AROUND THE GLOBE in this most international of businesses. The document which I found had impressed me by using sophisticated mathematics and computer science to analyze the optimization of ship-berthing. I'd not previously been aware of the complexity of this topic or of the amazing expertise which has been developed for the management of this activity. The document seemed to show how well the global economy had integrated. It also suggested that technicians around the entire world were all functioning at a comparable level of professional competence. I thought those insights were encouraging.
I've been looking in vain for that document or for references to it in all the most likely places but I haven't found it so I ran a Google Web Search for similar content. You might want to while away some time browsing through this response set.
Here are some excerpts from comparable documents which may clue you in to this process. The first is taken from a thesis, OPTIMAL SHIP BERTHING PLANS,
submitted at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, by Lieutenant Katie Podolak Thurman, long ago, in March of 1989:
A ship berthing plan assigns surface vessels a berth
prior to their port entrance, or reassigns ships once in port to allow them to accomplish in a timely manner maintenance, training, and certification events which build readiness for future operational commitments. Each ship requires different services when in port, such as shore power, crane services, ordnance, and fuel. Unfortunately, not all services are offered at all piers. At present, ship berthing plans are manually prepared by a port operations scheduler and often result in unnecessary berth shifts, which puts ships out of action for several hours.
An extensive user-friendly computerized optimization
model is developed and tested to assist the schedulers in the creation of a berthing plan which minimizes port loading conflicts, thus promoting fleet readiness through berthing stability. Norfolk Naval Station is used as an example because it exhibits all the richness of berthing problems the Navy faces.
That was 1989. Lieutenant Thurman suggested some of the challenges which are involved in ship-berthing. I've only been able to find partial copies of this next document, and they're not dated, but the document was published in Singapore and it's listed in a German academic archive of papers about artificial intelligence
(are you getting the picture of an integrating global community?!) as having been published in 1999, ten years after Lieutenant Thurman submitted her thesis about "computer aided ship berthing":An Effective Ship Berthing Algorithm
A n d r e w L i m
Department of Computer Science
National University of Singapore
Lower Kent Ridge Road
I'm guessing I should refer to the author as "Doctor" Lim. He says:
Situated at the crossroads of the world, the Port of Singapore is one of the world's busiest ports. Every few minutes a ship arrives or departs the port. Every month the port handles more than one million transhipment containers.
When a ship arrives at the port, the planners must first decide where to berth the ship for the unloading and loading of containers. For the containers that are to be unloaded, the planners must decide where to place these containers in the yard. The wharf line of the port is divided into sections, and no ship can be berthed across any two sections. Which section to assign a ship to and exactly where to berth a ship within a section depend on factors like the locations of containers to be loaded and unloaded, the physical (i.e. depth of the berth) and resource limitations (i.e. suitably of quay crane) of each berth...
...Ships come in different lengths and they arrive at the port at different times to be berthed. Every ship has an expected duration of stay which may be different from another ship. To berth a ship is to place the ship along the wharf line of a section. Once a ship is berthed, it will not be moved until its departure time. When two ships are berthed side by side, a certain minimum inter-ship clearance distance must be observed. Each ship has an inter-ship clearance distance which is dependent on the ship's length. The minimum inter-ship clearance distance of two ships berthed side by side is the larger of the two ships' inter-ship clearance distances. If a ship is berthed at the end of a section, a certain end-berth clearance distance must be observed. This end-berth clearance distance is not fixed and is dependent on the ship. A ship can also be given a fixed berthing location within a section. A ship may also be prohibited from berthing at certain parts of a section. A berth plan for a set of ships in a section is the exact locations of ships within the section...
I regret that I can't reproduce his mathematical formulas; they're shown graphically, not textually.
One more from Andrew Lim in Singapore, also published in 1999:Ant Colony Optimization for the
Ship Berthing Problem
Chia Jim Tong, Hoong Chuin Lau, and Andrew Lim
School of Computing
National University of Singapore...
Und so weiter...
Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is a paradigm that employs a set of cooperating agents to solve functions or obtain good solutions for combinatorial optimization problems. It has previously been applied to the TSP and QAP with encouraging results that demonstrate its potential. In this paper, we present FF-AS-SBP, an algorithm that applies ACO to the ship berthing problem (SBP), a generalization of the dynamic storage allocation problem (DSA), which is NP-complete.
FF-AS-SBP is compared against a randomized rst-t algorithm...
...The Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) paradigm was introduced in ,  and  by Dorigo, Maniezzo and Colorni. ACO has been applied eectively to the traveling salesman problem (TSP)  and the quadratic assignment problem (QAP) , among several other problems. The basic idea of ACO is inspired by the way ants explore their environment in search of a food source, wherein the basic action of each ant is: to deposit a trail of pheromone (a kind of chemical) on the ground as it moves, and to probabilistically prefer moving in directions with high concentrations of pheromone deposit...