Cyclic transfers in school timetabling

Gerhard Post, Samad Ahmadi, Frederik Geertsema

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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 datasets for high school timetabling in the Netherlands and England. We present results of the cyclic transfer algorithm with different settings on these datasets. The costs decrease by 8% to 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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Publication series

NameMemorandum / Department of Applied Mathematics
PublisherDepartment of Applied Mathematics, University of Twente
ISSN (Print)1874-4850
ISSN (Electronic)1874-4850


  • MSC-90C59


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  • Cyclic transfers in school timetabling

    Post, G., Ahmadi, S. & Geertsema, F., 2012, In: OR Spectrum = OR Spektrum. 34, 1, p. 133-154 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Open Access
    10 Citations (Scopus)
    66 Downloads (Pure)

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