PATAT 2012: Practioners Welcome

The PATAT (Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling) conference officially started today, although there was a social event yesterday.
One of the innovative aspects of PATAT, which is reflected in the conference title, is that it attracts both academics and practitioners.

The 2012 conference (the ninth in the conference series) has probably attracted more practitioners than previous conferences. The practitioners are drawn from people who work in universities who have the unenviable task of actually generating timetables of various types (for example, examination timetable, course timetable etc.) as well as companies that develop software to assist the timetabling community. Whilst not being a complete list, the following companies are present at PATAT 2012.

These three companies are arguably some of the leading software companies in the timetabling sector and it is good to see them interacting with the scientific community.

Given the number of practitioners present at PATAT, the conference program reflects this important element of the conference, with a stream running throughout the conference called Practical University Timetabling where the presentations are given by colleagues who work in timetabling offices or by software vendors.

It is good to see that conferences, such as PATAT, recognise the importance of including the end users and software vendors in helping to direct the research direction which, in my view, can only be a good thing.

If you are interested, more PATAT posts can be seen here.

PATAT 2012 Conference

I am just about to head off to the PATAT 2012 conference. This year it is in Oslo which would normally be a short hop from the UK but when you live in Malaysia it is a 15 hour flight! This is the 9th PATAT (Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling) conference in the series, which can be traced back to 1997 (see here, and a full list is given at the end of this post).

The venue for this years conference looks superb and although the weather might be a bit cooler than Kuala Lumpur I am looking forward to visiting Oslo and Norway.

The conference oragnisers (this year the conference has been organised by SINTEF), have put together an excellent programme. Underpinning it are three plenary speakers (Gilbert Laporte, Greet Vanden Berghe and Paul McMullan), backed up by keynote talks from Ruth Drysdale and Lee Hollins. The main sessions comprise about 55 talks and a number of software demonstrations.

One of my co-authors is presenting one of our papers.

Jerry Swan, Ender Ozcan and Graham Kendall, Co-evolving add and delete heuristics.

PATAT would not be PATAT with a strong social program, and that is certainly in evidence this time round.

So, it looks like being a good week, once the 14 hour flight is out of the way.

Finally, although this information is given on this page, for ease of reference, here is the complete list of PATAT conferences to date.

  1. The 9th conference will be held at Son, Norway, from 28th to 31st August, 2012.
  2. The 8th conference was held at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, from 10th August to 13th August, 2010.
  3. The 7th conference was held at CIRRELT, Universit de Montral, Montreal, Canada from 19th August to 22nd August, 2008.
  4. The 6th conference was held at the Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic from 30th August to 1st September 2006.
  5. The 5th conference was held at Sheraton Station Square, Pittsburg PA, U.S.A. in August 2004.
  6. The 4th conference was held at KaHo St.-Lieven, Gent, Belgium in August 2002.
  7. The 3rd conference was held at Fachhochschule Konstanz – University of Applied Sciences, Constance, Germany in August 2000.
  8. The 2nd conference was held at the University of Toronto, Canada in August 1997.
  9. The 1st conference was held at Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland in September 1995.