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Similarity Measures for Exam Timetabling Problems

Burke, Edmund; Eckersley, Adam; McCollum, Barry; Petrovic, Sanja; Qu, Rong

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Edmund Burke

Adam Eckersley

Barry McCollum

Professor of Operational Research

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Professor of Computer Science


A large number of heuristic algorithms have been developed over the years which have been aimed at solving examination timetabling problems. However, many of these algorithms have been developed specifically to solve one particular problem instance or a small subset of instances related to a given real-life problem. Our aim is to develop a more general system which, when given any exam timetabling problem, will produce results which are comparative to those of a specially designed heuristic for that problem. We are investigating a Case based reasoning (CBR) technique to select from a set of algorithms which have been applied successfully to similar problem instances in the past. The assumption in CBR is that similar problems have similar solutions. For our system, the assumption is that an algorithm used to find a good solution to one problem will also produce a good result for a similar problem. The key to the success of the system will be our definition of similarity between two exam timetabling problems. The study will be carried out by running a series of tests using a simple Simulated Annealing Algorithm on a range of problems with differing levels of similarity and examining the data sets in detail. In this paper an initial investigation of the key factors which will be involved in this measure is presented with a discussion of how the definition of good impacts on this.

Conference Name Multidisciplinary International Conference on Scheduling : Theory and Applications
Publication Date Jan 1, 2003
Deposit Date Dec 12, 2005
Publicly Available Date Oct 9, 2007
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