annealing, academic class scheduling, timetabling problems, cost function
In this study we have tackled the NP-hard problem of academic class scheduling (or timetabling) at the university level. We have investigated a variety of approaches based on simulated annealing, including mean-field annealing, simulated annealing with three different cooling schedules, and the use of a rule-based preprocessor to provide a good initial solution for annealing. The best results were obtained using simulated annealing with adaptive cooling and reheating as a function of cost, and a rule-based preprocessor. This approach enabled us to obtain valid schedules for the timetabling problem for a large university, using a complex cost function that includes student preferences. None of the other methods were able to provide a complete valid schedule.
Elmohamed, M.A. Saleh; Fox, Geoffrey C.; and Coddington, Paul, "A Comparison of Annealing Techniques for Academic Course Scheduling" (1997). Northeast Parallel Architecture Center. Paper 8.