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Case Based Heuristic Selection for Timetabling Problems

Burke, Edmund; Petrovic, Sanja; Qu, Rong


Edmund Burke

Professor of Operational Research

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Associate Professor


This paper presents a case-based heuristic selection approach for automated university course and exam timetabling. The method described in this paper is motivated by the goal of developing timetabling systems that are fundamentally more general than the current state of the art. Heuristics that worked well in previous similar situations are memorized in a case base and are retrieved for solving the problem in hand. Knowledge discovery techniques are employed in two distinct scenarios. Firstly, we model the problem and the problem solving situations along with specific heuristics for those problems. Secondly, we refine the case base and discard cases which prove to be non-useful in solving new problems. Experimental results are presented and analyzed. It is shown that case based reasoning can act effectively as an intelligent approach to learn which heuristics work well for particular timetabling situations. We conclude by outlining and discussing potential research issues in this critical area of knowledge discovery for different difficult timetabling problems.


Burke, E., Petrovic, S., & Qu, R. (2006). Case Based Heuristic Selection for Timetabling Problems. Journal of Scheduling, 9(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2006
Deposit Date Feb 27, 2007
Publicly Available Date Nov 9, 2007
Journal Journal of Scheduling
Print ISSN 1094-6136
Electronic ISSN 1094-6136
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 2
Keywords case based reasoning, course timetabling, exam timetabling, graph heuristics, knowledge discovery, meta-heuristics
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Additional Information The original publication is available at


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