Ant colony optimization for the examination scheduling problem
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- Dowsland, K. & Thompson, J. J Oper Res Soc (2005) 56: 426. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2601830
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Ant colony optimization is an evolutionary search procedure based on the way that ant colonies cooperate in locating shortest routes to food sources. Early implementations focussed on the travelling salesman and other routing problems but it is now being applied to an increasingly diverse range of combinatorial optimization problems. This paper is concerned with its application to the examination scheduling problem. It builds on an existing implementation for the graph colouring problem to produce clash-free timetables and goes on to consider the introduction of a number of additional practical constraints and objectives. A number of enhancements and modifications to the original algorithm are introduced and evaluated. Results based on real-examination scheduling problems including standard benchmark data (the Carter data set) show that the final implementation is able to compete effectively with the best-known solution approaches to the problem.