UniTime Team Update: International Timetabling Competition 2019

ITC 2019: International Timetabling Competition

We would like to announce a new university course timetabling competition. Building on the success of the earlier timetabling competitions, the International Timetabling Competition 2019 is aimed to motivate further research on complex university course timetabling problems coming from practice.

Our goal is the creation of rich real-world data sets. Thanks to the UniTime timetabling system, we collect a strong set of data with diverse characteristics. The key novelty lies in the combination of student sectioning together with standard time and room assignment of events in courses. To make the problems more attractive, some of the less important aspects of the real-life data are removed while retaining the computational complexity of the problems.

The competition is supported by the PATAT conference and by the EURO working group on Automated Timetabling (EWG PATAT). The winner will get a minimum cash price of 1000 EUR, the second place will be awarded a minimum of 500 EUR, and the third place with a minimum of 250 EUR. Additional sponsorship may enable us to increase the value of the prizes. In addition, we will provide a free registration to the PATAT 2020 conference for one member of each team of the first, the second and the third place submissions. In order to receive the prizes, the three best competitors are required to attend the PATAT 2020 conference and present their successful results in the Special Track that will be dedicated to the competition. In addition, they will be expected to submit a full version of their papers to the special journal issue of the conference. Additional prizes will also be provided during the run of the competition. The first, the second and the third best competitor on February 1 and June 1will be announced and obtain 300 EUR, 200 EUR, and 100 EUR, respectively. We will publish the quality of the best computed solutions from February 1 and June 1.

Three groups of data instances will be published during the competition (early, middle, late). While the order of the competitors will be based on all the published data instances, the instances released later in the competition have a much higher weight in the final ranking. The ranking is based on the computation of points in the F1 championship.

A web service will validate the solutions for the competition problems and will allow for the valid solutions to be uploaded to the website. The best-uploaded solution for each competitor and instance will be used for the ranking of the competitors, and it will be published on the competition website once the competition is concluded. The website will be maintained even after the competition to keep track of new solutions, publications about them, and include new data instances.

While the competition is based on the ideas of the previous competitions, some important aspects are different. In particular, the time needed to compute solutions is not constrained, and neither is the number of CPU cores or machines that the solver can use. At the same time, we do not expect to run solvers of the competitors on our hardware, i.e., solvers built on commercial software are allowed. We may ask to see the source code of solvers for the competitors.

Important Dates:

  • August 30, 2018: Competition is announced, sample data instances are published.
  • November 15, 2018: Early data instances are published.
  • February 1, 2019: The deadline for the milestone submission of the results for early instances to announce the three best competitors at this point.
  • June 1, 2019: The deadline for the milestone submission of the results for early instances to announce the three best competitors at this point.
  • September 18, 2019: Middle data instances are published.
  • November 8, 2019: Late data instances are published.
  • November 18, 2019: The final deadline for submission of the results for all the competition instances and the summary paper.
  • January 15, 2020: Finalists are published and winners are informed.
  • February-March, 2020: Submission deadline for PATAT 2020 competition track where any paper related to the competition can be submitted.
  • August, 2020: Winners are announced at PATAT 2020.
  • Autumn, 2020: Submission deadline for PATAT 2020 journal special issue.

More details are available on the competition website: https://www.itc2019.org