School timetabling has been a headache for school administrators for decades. In 1995 Education Department launched a computerized timetabling system called TESS as a component of its school administration system (SAMS), which is free for school use. Does computerized school timetabling really help? In this seminar, we will examine the status of automated school timetabling in Hong Kong. We will start with an outline of typical school timetabling requirements in Hong Kong, followed by a look at the results of two studies about secondary school timetabling in Hong Kong conducted in 1995 and 1999 respectively. Those results will give us some preliminary idea of the effectiveness of applying computers in school timetabling since the introduction of TESS. Lastly, we will describe a recent effort of Education Department in devising another timetabling system, in order to cater for more sophisticated timetabling requirements raised by schools.
Dr. Alvin Kwan is a lecturer of the Centre for Information Technology in School and Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. His research interests concern heuristic search techniques and application of artificial intelligence techniques in software systems, notably scheduling applications.