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An Integer Programming Model for a Complex University Timetabling Problem: A Case Study

  • Prabodanie, R.A. Ranga (Department of Industrial Management, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka)
  • Received : 2016.05.26
  • Accepted : 2016.11.14
  • Published : 2017.03.30

Abstract

A binary integer programming model is proposed for a complex timetabling problem in a university faculty which conducts various degree programs. The decision variables are defined with fewer dimensions to economize the model size of large scale problems and to improve modeling efficiency. Binary matrices are used to incorporate the relationships between the courses and students, and the courses and teachers. The model includes generally applicable constraints such as completeness, uniqueness, and consecutiveness; and case specific constraints. The model was coded and solved using Open Solver which is an open-source optimizer available as an Excel add-in. The results indicate that complicated timetabling problems with large numbers of courses and student groups can be formulated more efficiently with fewer numbers of variables and constraints using the proposed modeling framework. The model could effectively generate timetables with a significantly lower number of work hours per week compared to currently used timetables. The model results indicate that the particular timetabling problem is bounded by the student overlaps, and both human and physical resource constraints are insignificant.

Keywords

University;Timetabling;Integer Programming;Open Solver

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