Creating Seating Plans: A Practical Application

Rhydian Lewis, Fiona Carroll

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    This paper examines the interesting problem of designing seating plans for large events such as weddings and gala dinners where, among other things, the aim is to construct solutions where guests are sat on the same tables as friends and family, but, perhaps more importantly, are kept away from those they dislike. This problem is seen to be NP complete from a number of different perspectives. We describe the problem model and heuristic algorithm that is used on the commercial website We present results on the performance of this algorithm, demonstrating the factors that can influence run time and solution quality, and also present a comparison with an equivalent IP model used in conjunction with a commercial solver.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to) 1353-1362
    Number of pages13
    JournalOperational Research Society
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016


    • Seating Plans
    • Integer Programming
    • Graph Colouring
    • Metaheuristics
    • Combinatorial Optimisation


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