Adaptive linear combination of heuristic orderings in constructing examination timetables

Syariza Rahman, Andrej Bargiela, Edmund Burke, Ender Ozcan, Barry McCollum, Paul McMullan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we investigate adaptive linear combinations of graph coloring heuristics with a heuristic modifier to address the examination timetabling problem. We invoke a normalisation strategy for each parameter in order to generalise the specific problem data. Two graph coloring heuristics were used in this study (largest degree and saturation degree). A score for the difficulty of assigning each examination was obtained from an adaptive linear combination of these two heuristics and examinations in the list were ordered based on this value. The examinations with the score value representing the higher difficulty were chosen for scheduling based on two strategies. We tested for single and multiple heuristics with and without a heuristic modifier with different combinations of weight values for each parameter on the Toronto and ITC2007 benchmark data sets. We observed that the combination of multiple heuristics with a heuristic modifier offers an effective way to obtain good solution quality. Experimental results demonstrate that our approach delivers promising results. We conclude that this adaptive linear combination of heuristics is a highly effective method and simple to implement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number2
Early online date01 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2014


  • Examination timetabling; Constructive heuristic; Linear combinations; Graph colouring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Information Systems and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Adaptive linear combination of heuristic orderings in constructing examination timetables'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this