In this paper we propose a neighbourhood structure based on sequential/cyclic moves and a cyclic transfer algorithm for the high school timetabling problem. This method enables execution of complex moves for improving an existing solution, while dealing with the challenge of exploring the neighbourhood efficiently. An improvement graph is used in which certain negative cycles correspond to the neighbours; these cycles are explored using a recursive method. We address the problem of applying large neighbourhood structure methods on problems where the cost function is not exactly the sum of independent cost functions, as it is in the set partitioning problem. For computational experiments we use four real world data sets for high school timetabling in the Netherlands and England.We present results of the cyclic transfer algorithm with different settings on these data sets. The costs decrease by 8–28% if we use the cyclic transfers for local optimization compared to our initial solutions. The quality of the best initial solutions are comparable to the solutions found in practice by timetablers.
- Cyclic transfer
- High school