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Student project allocation using integer programming

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2 Author(s)
A. A. Anwar ; Dept. of Civil & Environ. Eng., Univ. of Southampton, UK ; A. S. Bahaj

The allocation of projects to students is a generic problem in many universities within the UK and elsewhere, not only in engineering but also in various other disciplines. This paper defines the student project allocation problem explicitly by an objective function and a number of constraints. Two integer program models are presented, the first of which is a dynamic program. A general purpose solver is used to solve the models, and the input files are included in the Appendix. The models are computationally efficient and easily solved on a PC. Important issues in interpreting the model outputs are highlighted. As with any optimization problem it is possible for constraints to be too tight to permit any feasible solution. Application of the models is demonstrated by using data from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southampton, for the academic year 2001-2002. The model has been used successfully to allocate Individual Project and Group Project to students and is likely to become the defacto method of allocation of projects in the future. This paper demonstrates how operations research techniques used widely in optimizing use of resources can be applied in education.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 3 )