Providing efficient workload management is an important issue for a large-scale heterogeneous distributed computing environment where a set of periodic applications is executed. The considered shipboard distributed system is expected to operate in an environment where the input workload is likely to change unpredictably, possibly invalidating a resource allocation that was based on the initial workload estimate. The tasks consist of multiple strings, each made up of an ordered sequence of applications. There is a quality of service (QoS) minimum throughput constraint that must be satisfied for each application in a string, and a maximum utilization constraint that must be satisfied on each of the hardware resources in the system. The challenge, therefore, is to efficiently and robustly manage both computation and communication resources in this unpredictable environment to achieve high performance while satisfying the imposed constraints. This work addresses the problem of finding a robust initial allocation of resources to strings of applications that is able to absorb some level of unknown input workload increase without rescheduling. The proposed hybrid two-stage method of finding a near-optimal allocation of resources incorporates two specially designed mapping techniques: (1) the Permutation Space Genitor-Based heuristic, and (2) the follow-up Branch-and-Bound heuristic based on an Integer Linear Programming (ILP) problem formulation. The performance of the proposed resource allocation method is evaluated under different simulation scenarios and compared to an iteratively computed upper bound. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.