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Course Scheduling and Timetabling at USMA

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We present a study of the course scheduling and cadet timetabling problem faced at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. We discuss the salient features of this mixed integer assignment problem and the unique characteristics of the academic program at USMA. Accordingly, we develop two models to address their needs. The first model assumes that an assignment of course-sections to available daily time slots is given, and it seeks to determine a desirable, balanced, feasible set of cadet timetables using an objective function similar to that employed in goal programming. This model employs a weighted, linear objective function that penalizes soft constraint parameters in order to minimize deviations from constraint satisfaction and to capture the relative degree to which achieving this goal is emphasized. This model is currently being implemented by the Academy Registrar to investigate or evaluate several compositions of cadet course schedules, designed according to various stated cadet and organizational preferences. The second model considers the joint problem of scheduling course-sections within appropriate time slots as well as the allocation of cadets to classes. A logic-based, variable fixing solution procedure is presented that enables conflict-free timetabling.

Keywords: Application Area: Manpower; Application Area: personnel; OR Method: Integer Linear Programming

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5711/morj.4.2.25

Publication date: March 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Military Operations Research is the leading peer-reviewed journal publishing articles in the fields that describe operations research (OR) methodologies and theories used in key military applications.

    MOR specifically invites papers that are significant military OR applications. Of particular interest are papers that present case studies showing innovative OR applications, apply OR to major policy issues, introduce interesting new problem areas, highlight educational issues, and document the history of military OR.
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