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The university course timetabling problem (UCTP) is a combinatorial optimization problem, in which a set of events has to be scheduled into time slots and located into suitable rooms. The design of course timetables for academic institutions is a very difficult task because it is an NP-hard problem. This paper investigates genetic algorithms (GAs) with a guided search strategy and local search (LS) techniques for the UCTP. The guided search strategy is used to create offspring into the population based on a data structure that stores information extracted from good individuals of previous generations. The LS techniques use their exploitive search ability to improve the search efficiency of the proposed GAs and the quality of individuals. The proposed GAs are tested on two sets of benchmark problems in comparison with a set of state-of-the-art methods from the literature. The experimental results show that the proposed GAs are able to produce promising results for the UCTP.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:41 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2011