Constraint programming and university timetabling

Groves, G. W. ; Van Wijck, W. (2002)

CITATION: Groves, G. W. & Van Wijck, W. 2002. Constraint programming and university timetabling. South African Journal of Industrial Engineering, 13(1):1-12, doi:10.7166/13-1-314.

The original publication is available at http://sajie.journals.ac.za

Article

The technology of Constraint Programming is rapidly becoming a popular alternative for solving large-scale industry problems. This paper provides an introduction to Constraint Programming and to Constraint Logic Programming (CLP), an enabler of constraint programming. The use of Constraint Logic Programming is demonstrated by describing a system developed for scheduling university timetables. Timetabling problems have a high degree of algorithmic complexity (they are usually NP-Complete), and share features with scheduling problems encountered in industry. The system allows the declaration of both hard requirements, which must always be satisfied, and soft constraints which need not be satisfied, though this would be an advantage.

Hierdie artikel beskryf ’n familie van probleem-oplossingstegnieke bekend as “Constraint Programming”, wat al hoe meer gebruik word om groot-skaalse industriële probleme op te los. Die nut van hierdie tegnieke word gedemonstreer deur die beskrywing van ’n skeduleringsisteem om die roosters vir ’n universiteit te genereer. Roosterskeduleringsprobleme is in praktiese gevalle NP-volledig en deel baie eienskappe met industriële skeduleringsprobleme. Die sisteem wat hier beskryf word maak gebruik van beide harde beperkings (wat altyd bevredig moet word) en sagte beperkings (bevrediging hiervan is wel voordelig maar dit is opsioneel.)

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