Journal Articles

An Efficient Decision Support System for Academic Course Scheduling

1989, Operations Research

M. A. Venkataramanan, J. J. Dinkel, J. Mote


This paper describes a network-based decision support system approach to the most general form of the academic course scheduling problem. The dimensions of faculty, subject, time, and room are considered by incorporating a penalty function into a network optimization approach. The approach, based on a network algorithm, is capable of solving very large problems. This methodology can be applied to other scheduling situations where there are competing objectives and multiple resources. Such situations include: scheduling of exams, times, and rooms in an academic setting, and scheduling of clients, times, and facilities for physicians, hospitals, dentists, counselors, and clinics. Common problems in such settings include the utilization of available space, and dissatisfaction with assigned times and locations. The proposed system results in more effective room utilization patterns, improved instructor satisfaction levels, and streamlines the tedious scheduling process. We describe the use of the model to schedule all graduate and undergraduate courses in the College of Business Administration at Texas A&M University. This involves 175 faculty, over 300 sections, 20 rooms, and 16 time slots for each semester's scheduling problem.


Venkataramanan, M. A., J. J. Dinkel, and J. Mote (1989), "An Efficient Decision Support System for Academic Course Scheduling," Operations Research, Vol. 37, Nov.-Dec., pp. 853-864.