A Python tool to assist the task of scheduling a conference which:
- Can take an existing schedule and validate it against a set of constraints
- Can calculate a new valid, optimal schedule
- Can calculate a new, valid schedule also optimised to be the minimum change necessary from another given schedule
- Has the resources, constraints and optimisations defined below built in
- Has a simple mechanism for defining new constraints and optimisations
- Is a standalone tool which takes simple data types as input and produces simple data types as output (i.e. does no IO or presentation)
The full documentation can be found at conference-scheduler.readthedocs.org.
- Slot - a combination of room and period
- Session - an ordered series of slots (e.g. 'the session in room 1 between coffee and lunch on Friday')
- Event - a talk or workshop
- Demand - the predicted size of audience for an event
- Capacity - the capacity of venues
- All events must be scheduled
- A slot may only have a maximum of one event scheduled
- An event must not be scheduled in a slot for which it has been marked as unavailable
- An event must not be scheduled at the same time as another event for which it has been marked not to clash
- An event may be tagged and, if so, must be scheduled in a session where it shares at least one tag with all other events in that session
- The sum of 'potential disappointments' should be minimised where 'potential disappointments' is defined as the excess of demand over room capacity for every scheduled event
- Minimise the number of changes from a given schedule.
Some examples of situations which have arisen at previous conferences and could be handled by the unavailability, clashing and tagging constraints:
- A conference organiser says "Talks X and Y are on similar subject matter and likely to appeal to a similar audience. Let's try not to schedule them against each other."
- A conference organiser says "Talks X, Y and Z are likely to appeal to a similar audience. Let's try to schedule them sequentially in the same room so that we minimise the movement of people from one room to another."
- A conference organiser says "The audience for Talk X would benefit greatly from the speech-to-text provision. Let's schedule that one in the main hall."
- A potential session chair says "I'd like to attend workshop X, so please don't schedule me to chair a session that clashes with it."
- A potential session chair says "I'm happy to chair a session but I've never done it before, so please don't schedule me in the main hall."
- A speaker says "I'd like to attend talk X, so please don't schedule my talk in the same slot."
- A first-time speaker is assigned a mentor and requests that the mentor chairs the session in which they are scheduled to give their talk.
This repository was inspired by a talk given by David MacIver at PyCon UK 2016: http://2016.pyconuk.org/talks/easy-solutions-to-hard-problems/