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README.md

conference_darwin

A library for building conference schedules using a genetic algorithm. Read more about the motivations and goals of this project in Using a Genetic Algorithm to Optimize Developer Conference Schedules and about how the first application of this algorithm in real life turned out in the postmortem article.

An animated gif of an evolving schedule

Usage

The project contains an example (the exact code that scheduled DartConf 2018). Clone this repository, cd to the directory, and run the algorithm like this:

dart example/example.dart

This will run for ~30 minutes (but will print out each 1000 generation). You can modify example/example.dart to run less generations and/or print out results more often.

When ready, copy-paste or create your own executable (by convention in bin/something.dart). You mainly want to change the list of available sessions, and the list of custom evaluators.

final evaluator = new ScheduleEvaluator(yourSessions, [yourEvaluators]);

You might not need to touch the rest of the code.

Sessions are provided in a list, with each session looking something like this:

new Session('Making Dart fast on mobile', 30,
    tags: ["flutter", "deepdive", "day1" "after_dart_main"],
    avoid: ["deepdive", "keynote"],
    seek: ["flutter"]),

The session above takes 30 minutes. The tags are all optional and tell the algorithm what the topics are (Flutter in this case), what's the style (deepdive), which day to schedule for (first) and which talks are required to come before it (everything tagged with "dart_main"). Look at lib/src/session.dart for a complete documentation of tags which have special meaning (e.g. "energetic", "exciting", "day_end", "keynote").

When organizing the conference, you will probably want to keep your talks in a spreadsheet like this:

DartConf 2018 program Time needed Tags Avoid neighbors Seek neighbors
Let’s live code in Flutter 30 flutter, energetic, demo, exciting, flutter_main demo
Flutter / Angular code sharing deep dive 30 flutter, angulardart, platform, deepdive, after_flutter_main, after_angulardart_main, codeshare, after_apptree deepdive, codeshare
How to build good packages and plugins 30 platform
Keynote 45 keynote, platform, energetic, exciting, day1 deepdive
Unconference 120 day_end, day2
Making Dart fast on mobile 30 platform, flutter, deepdive, flutter_fast, after_dart_main deepdive flutter
What's new with AngularDart 30 angulardart, architecture, deepdive, angulardart_main, after_dart_main architecture, deepdive
Dart language — what we’re working on 30 platform, exciting, day1, dart_main platform
Effective Dart + IntelliJ 30 platform, tooling keynote

It is then easy to generate the new Schedule(...) code ahead via a simple spreadsheet formula. Here's the one I used:

="new Session('"&A2&"', "&D2&", tags: ["&K2&"], avoid: ["&L2&"], seek: ["&M2&"]),"

When you're ready to run the scheduling algorithm again, just copy paste the row containing the formula into your Dart file, between the session brackets.

final sessions = <Session>[
  // copy-paste here
];

Of course it's perfectly possible to modify your script to do this automatically (e.g. through package:googleapis if you're using Google Spreadsheets or through a database connector if you track your WIP program in a database). You can even plug this into your continuous integration and have your schedule auto-regenerated any time the inputs change.

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A library for building conference schedules using a genetic algorithm.

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