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19th January 2019, 00:21 #1
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Algorithm for Timetabling
I am in the process of planning next year's teaching timetable for about 90 teachers. I was wondering if anyone had heard of a mathematical method to solve timetabling problems. I found a published article on using an optimisation algorithm, but it offers very little insight to the mathematical method to solve such problem.
I would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction to research further.

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19th January 2019, 02:25 #2
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Re: Algorithm for Timetabling
I picture a computer program where you input data from each teacher: (a) preferred days and hours, (b) nonpreferred hours, (c) neutral hours. Also preferred vacation time, etc.
Add in the class schedules, building locked/unlocked times, etc.
The computer then tests a thousand different combinations, rearranging blocks of time until it finds a schedule which satisfies all preferences. Or gets the highest score.

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20th January 2019, 23:23 #3
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Re: Algorithm for Timetabling
My father was a headmaster of a school (many years ago  in the '70s and '80s) and created the timetable each year.
Someone from the Department of Education spent a long time trying to understand how he did it and gave up as it is not (necessary) a straight forward problem. (Dad did make it harder for himself by allowing the senior pupils a fair degree of freedom in their choice of subjects and made sure that every pupil's choices were met!)
I doubt if it is a 'deterministic' process (i.e. can be done in a single pass). Trial and error (what BradtheRad suggested above) is probably the way (until quantum computing is advanced enough).
Susan
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