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A MAXMIN Ant System for the University Course Timetabling Problem
 in Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Ant Algorithm, ANTS 2002, Lecture Notes in Computer Science
, 2002
"... We consider a simplification of a typical university course timetabling problem involving three types of hard and three types of soft constraints. A MAXMIN Ant System, which makes use of a separate local search routine, is proposed for tackling this problem. We devise an appropriate construction gr ..."
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Cited by 33 (0 self)
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We consider a simplification of a typical university course timetabling problem involving three types of hard and three types of soft constraints. A MAXMIN Ant System, which makes use of a separate local search routine, is proposed for tackling this problem. We devise an appropriate construction graph and pheromone matrix representation after considering alternatives. The resulting algorithm is tested over a set of eleven instances from three classes of the problem. The results demonstrate that the ant system is able to construct significantly better timetables than an algorithm that iterates the local search procedure from random starting solutions.
An effective hybrid algorithm for university course timetabling
, 2006
"... The university course timetabling problem is an optimisation problem in which a set of events has to be scheduled in timeslots and located in suitable rooms. Recently, a set of benchmark instances was introduced and used for an ‘International Timetabling Competition’ to which 24 algorithms were subm ..."
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Cited by 20 (6 self)
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The university course timetabling problem is an optimisation problem in which a set of events has to be scheduled in timeslots and located in suitable rooms. Recently, a set of benchmark instances was introduced and used for an ‘International Timetabling Competition’ to which 24 algorithms were submitted by various research groups active in the field of timetabling. We describe and analyse a hybrid metaheuristic algorithm which was developed under the very same rules and deadlines imposed by the competition and outperformed the official winner. It combines various construction heuristics, tabu search, variable neighbourhood descent and simulated annealing. Due to the complexity of developing hybrid metaheuristics, we strongly relied on an experimental methodology for configuring the algorithms as well as for choosing proper parameter settings. In particular, we used racing procedures that allow an automatic or semiautomatic configuration of algorithms with a good save in time. Our successful example shows that the systematic design of hybrid algorithms through an experimental methodology leads to high performing algorithms for hard combinatorial optimisation problems.
Ant Algorithms for the University Course Timetabling Problem with Regard to the StateoftheArt
 In Proc. Third European Workshop on Evolutionary Computation in Combinatorial Optimization (EvoCOP 2003
, 2003
"... Two ant algorithms solving a simplified version of a typical university course timetabling problem are presented  Ant Colony System and MAXMIN Ant System. The algorithms are tested over a set of instances from three classes of the problem. Results are compared with recent results obtained with se ..."
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Cited by 18 (4 self)
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Two ant algorithms solving a simplified version of a typical university course timetabling problem are presented  Ant Colony System and MAXMIN Ant System. The algorithms are tested over a set of instances from three classes of the problem. Results are compared with recent results obtained with several metaheuristics using the same local search routine (or neighborhood definition), and a reference random restart local search algorithm. Further, both ant algorithms are compared on an additional set of instances. Conclusions are drawn about the performance of ant algorithms on timetabling problems in comparison to other metaheuristics. Also the design, implementation, and parameters of ant algorithms solving the university course timetabling problem are discussed. It is shown that the particular implementation of an ant algorithm has significant influence on the observed algorithm performance.
Towards improving the utilisation of university teaching space
 J. Op. Res. Soc
"... Abstract. There is a perception that teaching space in universities is a rather scarce resource. However, some studies have revealed that in many institutions it is actually chronically underused. Often, rooms are occupied only half the time, and even when in use they are often only half full. This ..."
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Cited by 9 (8 self)
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Abstract. There is a perception that teaching space in universities is a rather scarce resource. However, some studies have revealed that in many institutions it is actually chronically underused. Often, rooms are occupied only half the time, and even when in use they are often only half full. This is usually measured by the “utilisation ” which is defined as the percentage of available ’seathours ’ that are employed. Within real institutions, studies have shown that this utilisation can often take values as low as 2040%. One consequence of such a low level of utilisation is that space managers are under pressure to make a more efficient use of the available teaching space. However, better management is hampered because there does not appear to be a good understanding within space management (nearterm planning) of why this happens. Nor, a good basis within space planning (longterm planning) of how best to accommodate the expected low utilisations. This motivates our two main goals: (i) To understand
A Hybrid Evolutionary Approach to the University Course Timetabling Problem
"... Abstract—Combinations of evolutionary based approaches with local search have provided very good results for a variety of scheduling problems. This paper describes the development of such an algorithm for university course timetabling. This problem is concerned with the assignment of lectures to spe ..."
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Cited by 8 (1 self)
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Abstract—Combinations of evolutionary based approaches with local search have provided very good results for a variety of scheduling problems. This paper describes the development of such an algorithm for university course timetabling. This problem is concerned with the assignment of lectures to specific timeslots and rooms. For a solution to be feasible, a number of hard constraints must be satisfied. The quality of the solution is measured in terms of a penalty value which represents the degree to which various soft constraints are satisfied. This hybrid evolutionary approach is tested over established datasets and compared against stateoftheart techniques from the literature. The results obtained confirm that the approach is able to produce solutions to the course timetabling problem which exhibit some of the lowest penalty values in the literature on these benchmark problems. It is therefore concluded that the hybrid evolutionary approach represents a particularly effective methodology for producing high quality solutions to the university course timetabling problem.
A memetic algorithm for university course timetabling
 IN: COMBINATORIAL OPTIMISATION 2004 BOOK OF ABSTRACTS
, 2004
"... We present here a metaheuristic approach to the university course timetabling problem using a memetic algorithm with a very effective local search. The algorithm was tested on the International Timetabling Competition benchmark instances. Results are encouraging and show that evolutionary computatio ..."
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Cited by 7 (0 self)
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We present here a metaheuristic approach to the university course timetabling problem using a memetic algorithm with a very effective local search. The algorithm was tested on the International Timetabling Competition benchmark instances. Results are encouraging and show that evolutionary computation with the help of local search can compete with succesful algorithms on the problem.
The Influence of RunTime Limits on Choosing Ant System Parameters
 In Proc. Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2003
, 2003
"... The influence of the allowed running time on the choice of the parameters of an ant system is investigated. It is shown that different parameter values appear to be optimal depending on the algorithm runtime. The performance of the MAXMIN Ant System (MMAS) on the University Course Timetabling Prob ..."
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Cited by 7 (2 self)
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The influence of the allowed running time on the choice of the parameters of an ant system is investigated. It is shown that different parameter values appear to be optimal depending on the algorithm runtime. The performance of the MAXMIN Ant System (MMAS) on the University Course Timetabling Problem (UCTP)  a type of constraint satisfaction problem  is used as an example. The parameters taken into consideration include the type of the local search used, and some typical parameters for MMAS  the tau_min and rho. It is shown that the optimal parameters depend significantly on the time limits set. Conclusions summarizing the influence of time limits on parameter choice, and possible methods of making the parameter choice more independent from the time limits, are presented.
Application of the Grouping Genetic Algorithm to University Course Timetabling
 In G. Raidl and J. Gottlieb (eds) Evolutionary Computation in Combinatorial Optimization, Springer LNCS 3448
, 2005
"... Abstract. University Course TimetablingProblems (UCTPs) involve the allocation of resources (such as rooms and timeslots) to all the events of a university, satisfying a set of hardconstraints and, as much as possible, some soft constraints. Here we work with a wellknown version of the problem wh ..."
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Cited by 6 (0 self)
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Abstract. University Course TimetablingProblems (UCTPs) involve the allocation of resources (such as rooms and timeslots) to all the events of a university, satisfying a set of hardconstraints and, as much as possible, some soft constraints. Here we work with a wellknown version of the problem where there seems a strong case for considering these two goals as separate subproblems. In particular we note that the satisfaction of hard constraints fits the standard definition of a grouping problem. As a result, a grouping genetic algorithm for finding feasible timetables for “hard ” problem instances has been developed, with promising results. 1
Hardness Prediction for the University Course Timetabling Problem
 Proceedings of the Evolutionary Computation in Combinatorial Optimization (EvoCOP 2004
, 2004
"... Abstract. This paper presents an attempt to find a statistical model that predicts the hardness of the University Course Timetabling Problem by analyzing instance properties. The model may later be used for better understanding what makes a particular instance hard. It may also be used for tuning th ..."
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Cited by 5 (1 self)
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Abstract. This paper presents an attempt to find a statistical model that predicts the hardness of the University Course Timetabling Problem by analyzing instance properties. The model may later be used for better understanding what makes a particular instance hard. It may also be used for tuning the algorithm actually solving that problem instance. The paper introduces the definition of hardness, explains the statistical approach used for modeling instance hardness, as well as presents results obtained and possible ways of exploiting them. 1