Hybridizations within a graph based hyper-heuristic framework for university timetabling problems
Qu, Rong and Burke, Edmund (2008) Hybridizations within a graph based hyper-heuristic framework for university timetabling problems. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 60 (9). pp. 1273-1285. ISSN 0160-5682
A significant body of recent literature has explored various research directions in hyper-heuristics (which can be thought as heuristics to choose heuristics). In this paper, we extend our previous work to construct a unified graph-based hyper-heuristic (GHH) framework, under which a number of local search-based algorithms (as the high level heuristics) are studied to search upon sequences of low-level graph colouring heuristics. To gain an in-depth understanding on this new framework, we address some fundamental issues concerning neighbourhood structures and characteristics of the two search spaces (namely, the search spaces of the heuristics and the actual solutions). Furthermore, we investigate efficient hybridizations in GHH with local search methods and address issues concerning the exploration of the high-level search and the exploitation ability of the local search. These, to our knowledge, represent entirely novel directions in hyper-heuristics. The efficient hybrid GHH obtained competitive results compared with the best published results for both benchmark course and exam timetabling problems, demonstrating its efficiency and generality across different problem domains. Possible extensions upon this simple, yet general, GHH framework are also discussed.
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