School of Mathematics Introduces Automated Timetables

The College of Biological and Physical Sciences (C.B.P.S) improved its teaching and examination timetables. Initially, the timetables were prepared manually and had a lot of errors and inconsistencies. The automated timetable (Uni-Time) was developed by staff and students of Purdue University. The uni time software is distributed free under an open-source license in hopes that colleges and universities can benefit their students through better scheduling. UniTime -Open Source (ApacheLicense, Version 2.0) was used because:

  • It is  Web-based, written in Java using modern technologies
  • it uses state-of-the-art optimization algorithms. Some of the algorithms (e.g., integer programming) 
  • it has a distributed data entry and timetabling in multi-user environments.
  • it has over 500k lines of code (including the constraint solver)
  • Easy to extend and/or customize
  • it has been applied at large institutions in countries such as the USA, Czech Republic, Pakistan, Croatia, Poland, Turkey, Peru, and Kenya

The School of Mathematics was used to pilot the project and the recommendations will be used to improve the college timetable and latter the entire University of Nairobi timetable. 

The improved timetable will help to:

  • Minimize student conflicts 
  • Help use limited resources more effectively
  • Make the process more transparent and sustainable
  • Fairness and satisfaction with the timetable
  • What-if scenarios (e.g some room is not available, think of MHI is
  • under renovation)
  • Ability to adapt to changes (curriculum, facilities, etc.)

while training the college timetablers, The principal of the college professor Barnard Aduda thanked Dr. Ongaro Jared and the college timetabling committee for the completion and implementation of the automated timetable to the entire college.