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Algorithms 2014, 7(3), 295-327; doi:10.3390/a7030295

Solving the Examination Timetabling Problem in GPUs

1,* , 1
1 Computer Systems Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,University of Patras, GR-26504 Patras, Greece 2 Technological Educational Institute of Epirus, GR-48100 Preveza, Greece 3 Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece, GR-30020 Antirio, Greece
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 22 May 2014 / Accepted: 12 June 2014 / Published: 3 July 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired Algorithms for Combinatorial Problems)
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The examination timetabling problem belongs to the class of combinatorial optimization problems and is of great importance for every University. In this paper, a hybrid evolutionary algorithm running on a GPU is employed to solve the examination timetabling problem. The hybrid evolutionary algorithm proposed has a genetic algorithm component and a greedy steepest descent component. The GPU computational capabilities allow the use of very large population sizes, leading to a more thorough exploration of the problem solution space. The GPU implementation, depending on the size of the problem, is up to twenty six times faster than the identical single-threaded CPU implementation of the algorithm. The algorithm is evaluated with the well known Toronto datasets and compares well with the best results found in the bibliography. Moreover, the selection of the encoding of the chromosomes and the tournament selection size as the population grows are examined and optimized. The compressed sparse row format is used for the conflict matrix and was proven essential to the process, since most of the datasets have a small conflict density, which translates into an extremely sparse matrix.
Keywords: evolutionary algorithms; examination timetabling problem; GPU computing; CUDA evolutionary algorithms; examination timetabling problem; GPU computing; CUDA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Kolonias, V.; Goulas, G.; Gogos, C.; Alefragis, P.; Housos, E. Solving the Examination Timetabling Problem in GPUs. Algorithms 2014, 7, 295-327.

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