The French airspace is divided into basic space sectors that can be grouped to form control areas assigned to controller working positions. The allocation of space sectors workstations changes during the day, depending on the controllers' workload.
In operation, it is very difficult to accurately anticipate workloads on control areas for the next hour or the next day, even with a good traffic forecasting. There are at least two reasons:
The objective is to build a realistic prediction of the air sectors configuration. In the studied problem here, the traffic is not considered as an adjustment variable, but as a given input. It does not regulate the traffic demand, but simply plays on how to combine the basic sectors to build a (the best) balanced airspace partition, taking into account operational constraints (number of working positions , etc.).
It is a problem of optimal partitioning under constraints. The cost function that we seek to minimize depends on each control sector workload of the partition space. One challenge is to correctly estimate the workload (see our page on Air traffic controllers workload).
Here are some previous work to MAIAA creation: