Resource allocation is used to assign the available resources in an economic way. It is part of resource management. In project management, resource allocation is the scheduling of activities and the resources required by those activities while taking into consideration both the resource availability and the project time.
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In strategic planning, resource allocation is a plan for using available resources, for example human resources, especially in the near term, to achieve goals for the future. It is the process of allocating resources among the various projects or business units.
The plan has two parts: Firstly, there is the basic allocation decision and secondly there are contingency mechanisms. The basic allocation decision is the choice of which items to fund in the plan, and what level of funding it should receive, and which to leave unfunded: the resources are allocated to some items, not to others.
There are two contingency mechanisms. There is a priority ranking of items excluded from the plan, showing which items to fund if more resources should become available; and there is a priority ranking of some items included in the plan, showing which items should be sacrificed if total funding must be reduced.
The main objective is to smooth resources requirements by shifting slack jobs beyond periods of peak requirements. Some of the methods essentially replicate what a human scheduler would do if he had enough time; others make use of unusual devices or procedures designed especially for the computer. They of course depend for their success on the speed and capabilities of electronic computers. What to produce concerns allocation of resources among alternative uses. The economy must allocate the varieties of goods and services which will yield the greatest satisfaction the to the consumers. Once the first problem is solved, we are faced with the second problem HOW TO PRODUCE. There are several technically possible ways a commodity can be made. A basic criterion used in deciding the best technique is that producers should avoid inefficient methods. Production is said to be insufficient when it is possible to rellocate resources and, as a result, produce more of at least one good without producing less of any other good. This information is powerful and helpful to the beginners.
Resource allocation may be decided by using computer programs applied to a specific domain to automatically and dynamically distribute resources to applicants. It may be considered as a specialized case of automatic scheduling.
This is especially common in electronic devices dedicated to routing and communication. For example, channel allocation in wireless communication may be decided by a base transceiver station using an appropriate algorithm.
One class of resource allocation algorithms is the auction class, whereby applicants bid for the best resource(s) according to their balance of "money", as in an online auction business model (see also auction theory).