A graph-based hyper heuristic for timetabling problems

Burke, Edmund and MacCloumn, Barry and Meisels, Amnon and Petrovic, Sanja and Qu, Rong (2007) A graph-based hyper heuristic for timetabling problems. European Journal of Operational Research, 176 (1). pp. 177-192. ISSN 0377-2217

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This paper presents an investigation of a simple generic hyper-heuristic approach upon a set of widely used constructive heuristics (graph coloring heuristics) in timetabling. Within the hyperheuristic framework, a Tabu Search approach is employed to search for permutations of graph heuristics which are used for constructing timetables in exam and course timetabling problems. This underpins a multi-stage hyper-heuristic where the Tabu Search employs permutations upon a different number of graph heuristics in two stages. We study this graph-based hyper-heuristic approach within the context of exploring fundamental issues concerning the search space of the hyper-heuristic (the heuristic space) and the solution space. Such issues have not been addressed in other hyper-heuristic research. These approaches are tested on both exam and course benchmark timetabling problems and are compared with the fine-tuned bespoke state-of-the-art approaches. The results are within the range of the best results reported in the literature. The approach described here represents a significantly more generally applicable approach than the current state of the art in the literature. Future work will extend this hyper-heuristic framework by employing methodologies which are applicable on a wider range of timetabling and scheduling problems.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in European Journal of Operational Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in European Journal of Operational Research, 176(1), 177-192 (2007), doi: 10.1016/j.ejor.2005.08.012
Keywords: Heuristics; Graph heuristics; Hyper-heuristics; Tabu search; Timetabling
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Depositing User: Qu, Rong
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2015 10:38
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/371

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