A Hybrid Imperialist Approach in Solving University Timetabling Problems. Information Sciences. Vol. 283, 1-21

Barry McCollum, Paul McMullan, Hisham Asmuni, C.W Fong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Generating timetables for an institution is a challenging and time consuming task due to different demands on the overall structure of the timetable. In this paper, a new hybrid method which is a combination of a great deluge and artificial bee colony algorithm (INMGD-ABC) is proposed to address the university timetabling problem. Artificial bee colony algorithm (ABC) is a population based method that has been introduced in recent years and has proven successful in solving various optimization problems effectively. However, as with many search based approaches, there exist weaknesses in the exploration and exploitation abilities which tend to induce slow convergence of the overall search process. Therefore, hybridization is proposed to compensate for the identified weaknesses of the ABC. Also, inspired from imperialist competitive algorithms, an assimilation policy is implemented in order to improve the global exploration ability of the ABC algorithm. In addition, Nelder–Mead simplex search method is incorporated within the great deluge algorithm (NMGD) with the aim of enhancing the exploitation ability of the hybrid method in fine-tuning the problem search region. The proposed method is tested on two differing benchmark datasets i.e. examination and course timetabling datasets. A statistical analysis t-test has been conducted and shows the performance of the proposed approach as significantly better than basic ABC algorithm. Finally, the experimental results are compared against state-of-the art methods in the literature, with results obtained that are competitive and in certain cases achieving some of the current best results to those in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Heuristic Algorithms
  • Optimisation
  • Scheduling


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