Metaheuristic Approaches for Solving University Timetabling Problems: A Review and Case Studies from Middle Eastern Universities

  • Manar HosnyEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 111)


University timetabling problems are concerned with the assignment of events and tasks that occur frequently in universities, like exams, courses, projects, and faculty load. These problems are difficult and consume a lot of time and effort if done manually. Automating such tasks will save time and cost, and increase the satisfaction of the stakeholders. Since university timetabling problems are mostly NP-hard, heuristics and metaheuristics are often used for solving them. In this survey, we review different university timetabling problems, such as: Examination Timetabling, Course Timetabling, and Staff Timetabling. We also propose a new problem, which is Project Timetabling. In addition, we discuss some case studies that successfully tackled these problems using metaheuristic algorithms. However, due to the huge number of papers published worldwide in this research area, we focus in this survey on papers published in the Middle Eastern region. The findings of this survey indicate that there are many challenges that are still open for further investigation. Focusing on the convenience of the stakeholders and adopting hybrid search methods are among the promising research directions in this field. Project timetabling which has been introduced in this survey is also another promising area that is open for further investigation by the interested researchers.


Scheduling Heuristics Metaheuristics University timetabling problems 



The author would like to extend thanks to Mrs. Shameem Fatima for her great efforts in collecting and categorizing the references presented in this survey.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Computer and Information SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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