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Hopkins Code Cracks Baseball Scheduling


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A minor league baseball schedule.

A new system developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers utilizes thousands of lines of code to fulfill all of a baseball league's scheduling rules, in addition to as many requests and preferences submitted by teams in the league as possible.

Credit: Mets.Minors.net

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) researchers have developed a system that fulfills all of a baseball league's scheduling rules, and as many of the teams' requests and preferences as possible, using thousands of lines of code.

The system, developed by associate research scientist Anton Dahbura and professor Donniell Fishkind, allows 10,000 schedule limitations and even more factors to be fed into a supercomputer, which produces a workable schedule. The methodology employs combinatorial optimization, which is the concept that there should be at least one schedule that optimally satisfies every rule and team request, via a combination of integers.

JHU graduate student Matt Molisani says the system's operation involves generating a massive amount of code to define a broad spectrum of schedule constraints. Each league's preferences present a challenge to programmers, and the supercomputer that processes the constraints can take as long as a month to churn out a solution in certain instances as it mines through the exponentially large number of possible schedules to find ones that conform with the rules.

"I like the fact there's always so many different ways to get to the final solution," Molisani says. "There's never just one correct answer, which is weird because in math there's usually only one correct answer."

From The Baltimore Sun
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