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A Constraint-Based Dental School Timetabling System

AI Magazine

This system has been deployed since 2010. Dental school timetabling differs from other university course scheduling in that certain clinic sessions can be used by multiple courses at the same time, provided a limit on room capacity is satisfied. Starting from a constraint-programming solution using a web interface, we have moved to a mixed integer programming-based solver to deal with multiple objective functions, along with a dedicated Java application, which provides a rich user interface. Solutions for the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 have been used in the dental school, replacing a manual timetabling process, which could no longer cope with increasing student numbers and resulting resource bottlenecks. The use of the automated system allowed the dental school to increase the number of students enrolled to the maximum possible given the available resources.


A Constraint-Based Dental School Timetabling System

AI Magazine

We describe a constraint-based timetabling system that was developed for the dental school based at Cork University Hospital in Ireland. Dental school timetabling differs from other university course scheduling in that certain clinic sessions can be used by multiple courses at the same time, provided a limit on room capacity is satisfied. Solutions for the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 have been used in the dental school, replacing a manual timetabling process, which could no longer cope with increasing student numbers and resulting resource bottlenecks. The use of the automated system allowed the dental school to increase the number of students enrolled to the maximum possible given the available resources.


Fuzzy Integer Linear Programming Mathematical Models for Examination Timetable Problem

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

ETP is NP Hard combinatorial optimization problem. It has received tremendous research attention during the past few years given its wide use in universities. In this Paper, we develop three mathematical models for NSOU, Kolkata, India using FILP technique. To deal with impreciseness and vagueness we model various allocation variables through fuzzy numbers. The solution to the problem is obtained using Fuzzy number ranking method. Each feasible solution has fuzzy number obtained by Fuzzy objective function. The different FILP technique performance are demonstrated by experimental data generated through extensive simulation from NSOU, Kolkata, India in terms of its execution times. The proposed FILP models are compared with commonly used heuristic viz. ILP approach on experimental data which gives an idea about quality of heuristic. The techniques are also compared with different Artificial Intelligence based heuristics for ETP with respect to best and mean cost as well as execution time measures on Carter benchmark datasets to illustrate its effectiveness. FILP takes an appreciable amount of time to generate satisfactory solution in comparison to other heuristics. The formulation thus serves as good benchmark for other heuristics. The experimental study presented here focuses on producing a methodology that generalizes well over spectrum of techniques that generates significant results for one or more datasets. The performance of FILP model is finally compared to the best results cited in literature for Carter benchmarks to assess its potential. The problem can be further reduced by formulating with lesser number of allocation variables it without affecting optimality of solution obtained. FLIP model for ETP can also be adapted to solve other ETP as well as combinatorial optimization problems.


Automated Large-scale Class Scheduling in MiniZinc

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Class Scheduling is a highly constrained task. Educational institutes spend a lot of resources, in the form of time and manual computation, to find a satisficing schedule that fulfills all the requirements. A satisficing class schedule accommodates all the students to all their desired courses at convenient timing. The scheduler also needs to take into account the availability of course teachers on the given slots. With the added limitation of available classrooms, the number of solutions satisfying all constraints in this huge search-space, further decreases. This paper proposes an efficient system to generate class schedules that can fulfill every possible need of a typical university. Though it is primarily a fixed-credit scheduler, it can be adjusted for open-credit systems as well. The model is designed in MiniZinc and solved using various off-the-shelf solvers. The proposed scheduling system can find a balanced schedule for a moderate-sized educational institute in less than a minute.


Fairness in Academic Course Timetabling

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We consider the problem of creating fair course timetables in the setting of a university. Our motivation is to improve the overall satisfaction of individuals concerned (students, teachers, etc.) by providing a fair timetable to them. The central idea is that undesirable arrangements in the course timetable, i.e., violations of soft constraints, should be distributed in a fair way among the individuals. We propose two formulations for the fair course timetabling problem that are based on max-min fairness and Jain's fairness index, respectively. Furthermore, we present and experimentally evaluate an optimization algorithm based on simulated annealing for solving max-min fair course timetabling problems. The new contribution is concerned with measuring the energy difference between two timetables, i.e., how much worse a timetable is compared to another timetable with respect to max-min fairness. We introduce three different energy difference measures and evaluate their impact on the overall algorithm performance. The second proposed problem formulation focuses on the tradeoff between fairness and the total amount of soft constraint violations. Our experimental evaluation shows that the known best solutions to the ITC2007 curriculum-based course timetabling instances are quite fair with respect to Jain's fairness index. However, the experiments also show that the fairness can be improved further for only a rather small increase in the total amount of soft constraint violations.