Optimal conference schedules


#1

As an idea to help optimise our conference schedules, Jan and I have written up a few lines of GAMS code (actually: Jan did the coding), which should allocate topics to conference slots in a way that maximises “participant satisfaction”, i.e. the possibility for participants to attend the topics for which they have voted. Apart from a GAMS license (translation to other languages is of course welcome), you only need an excel sheet with participant votes as an input (i.e. by exporting the votes from our forum, in case this is possible (?), or by using a google form to collect the votes)

This may be an overkill, e.g. in case most participants only voted for 1 topic, so that the scheduling is trivial; or it may be too simple, if you prefer other tools such as: https://conference-scheduler.readthedocs.io/en/latest/.

Needless to say, there are a couple of refinements, that could be added - such as a rule to prevent speakers from being assigned two parallel slots ;-)… however, we first wanted to see, whether there is an interest at all, to use such an approach for conference planning, or whether other tools are preferred (including manual agenda matching for simplicity). Your views on this are welcome (either now, or at a later point in time, when the problem becomes more pressing).


#2

Dear Christian,

another tool that came to my mind is the one that is used to organize among others the chaos communication congress, frab for conference management and halfnarp, which allows visitors to submit their preferences, which can then be used to create an schedule. I did not have a close look at it, but it might be worthwhile.

The ccc hosted 17.000 visitors last year. I would be keen to learn if these tools are practical for smaller events as well.