Algorithms and OOD (CSC 207 2014F) : Assignments

Project: Sports Scheduling


Summary: In this project, you will construct an application that constructs sports schedules.

Purposes: To give you the opportunity to apply your skills at designing and implementing and implementing algorithms and data structures and in apply object principles in program design. To help you think about what it means to make a product with an external audience. To give you the experience of working with incomplete or partial information. To give you a chance to extend a project in a direction you choose.

Collaboration: You must work in a group of three or four people. One member of the group should be designated as the “algorithms lead” and will be responsible for pushing the group forward in algorithm design and implementation. One member of the group should be designated as the “object design lead” and will be responsible for pushing the group forward in the overall design of the system, using appropriate object-oriented design principles (particularly encapsulation, poymorphism, and inheritance). One member of the group should be designated as the “external audience lead” and will be responsible for pushing the group forward in the way it presents the material to others (including programmer documentation, system documentation, and public presentation). One member of the group might be designated as “manager” and will be responsible for ensuring that the group functions well.

All members of the team are responsible for contributing to all aspects of the project. The leads simply make sure that their part of the project receives appropriate consideration.

While you should do most of the work with your group, you should feel free to discuss the project with others and to look at materials others produce. Of course, you must properly credit those discussions and other materials.

Submitting: Please put all of your work in a GitHub repository and email the address of that repository to Please use a subject of “CSC207 2014F Project (Your Name)”.

Warning: So that this assignment is a learning experience for everyone, we may spend class time publicly critiquing your work.

Assessment: See the end of this assignment.

Background: Scheduling Competitions

As you may know, the task of scheduling competitions in a league is complex and difficult. There are many criteria that you attempt to meet (e.g., you want to limit travel) and many criteria conflict with each other. If you have to build schedules by hand, your approach might simply to be to put together something that seems “good enough” and then adjust as necessary. But computers allow you to quickly try many more adjustments, as well as to think about other approaches.

What kinds of criteria might you have? You might want to limit how many games in a row a team plays at home or away. You might want to make sure that all the games in a time period (e.g., a weekend) are played in similar locations (e.g., both at home or at two schools that are near to each other). You might have certain dates that teams have to be home or away. And so on and so forth.

Sports scheduling is complex enough that many leagues pay a service to do it for them. For example, a typical service, advertised at, charges $300 to generate a schedule, and $450 for a “rush” schedule (generated in two or three weeks).

Why does it cost so much to schedule? In part, it's because it's hard to do it by hand, and $300 might be less than you'd pay someone for the number of hours it costs to do so by hand. And, even if you have a program, someone needs to translate the informally stated requirements into a formal representation.

Sample Scheduling Policies

The following are a variety of examples taken from the Midwest Conference. I believe that the goal is to schedule for 2016-17. You can find mileage information on the Midwest conference at

Schedule One

We are seeking a double round robin basketball schedule (18 games/school), inclusive of two back-to-back (Friday/Saturday) weekends (one home and one away). The remainder of the games should be scheduled Tuesday/Saturday, Wednesday/Saturday. Men and women travel together, so simply need a single 18-game schedule per institution.

Every team plays one home back-to-back and one away back-to-back.

Every school plays every other school once at home and once on the road.


  • On Friday/Saturday weekends, teams should play opponents who are among the schools furthest in distance. Additionally, travel between opponents on back-to-back weekends should not be greater than 180 miles.
  • Midweek games should be against closest geographic opponents, preferably limiting travel distance one way to 270 miles or less.
  • Avoid mandated play during final exam periods.

Dates of play

Lake Forest, Monmouth, and Beloit all must play November 22 against a league opponent not to include Knox or Lawrence (final exam week for these two schools).

Everyone plays Dec 2 & 3 (1st of 2 back-to-back weekends).

These schools shall play Dec. 7 (designate as a single date and school can choose) but cannot play Dec. 10 (final exam week for these schools): Lake Forest, Monmouth, Beloit.

These schools shall play both Dec. 7 and December 10: Cornell, Grinnell, IC, Knox, Lawrence, Ripon, St. Norbert.

Play breaks until January when everyone resumes play January 4.

Remaining dates of competition include: January 4, January 7, January 18, January 21, January 24, January 28, January 31, February 4, February 8, February 11, February 14, and February 18

On January 4, Beloit, Cornell, Grinnell, IC, Knox, Lake Forest, Ripon, St. Norbert can all travel unlimited distance because not in session.

On January 13/14 (2nd of 2 back-to-back weekends) Beloit, Grinnell, IC, Knox, Monmouth, Ripon, can all travel greater distances on Friday because not in session.

Schedule Two

Generate a 16-game schedule in which each school plays 7 schools home and away but the 8th and 9th school they only play once. Those schools are as follows. (The top school plays each of the schools below them only once; for example, Luther plays Illinois and Knox only once.).

RC   SNC  LU   BC   LFC  IC   GC   CC   KC   MC
GC   CC   IC   GC   MC   LU   RC   SNC  LU   LFC
IC   KC   KC   MC   CC   RU   BC   LFC  SNC  BC

There are no back-to-back weekends in this schedule, so everything is is Tue/Sat or Wed/Sat. Same dates as above and same limits on travel, finals, etc.


Your goal is to write a well-designed program that will generate schedules using criteria like those described above. To write such a program, you will need to

  • model the various kinds of information (teams, distances, dates, restrictions, goals, schedules, etc.);
  • develop an algorithm that uses the modeled information to develop one or more schedules that meet the given criteria (you may find that you can't meet all of the criteria, in which case you'll need to do the best you can and indicate where your schedule fails to meet the criteria); and
  • build a user interface that loads appropriate information and prints out the resulting schedule.

You will also need to provide information to your clients about your program, its features, and any related issues.

At minimum, your program should be able to read in two sets of data: The list of potential dates for competitions and the restrictions on when schools must and cannot play. Optionally, your program might read in the distances between schools, the criteria we use for scheduling games, and other data your program could use. (If you don't read it in, you'll still need to use much of the information in your program, but you can hardcode it. The scheduling criteria can be implicitly hardcoded into your algorithm.) Ideally, these data would be stored in one or more files (e.g., one for dates, one for restrictions,one for distances).

At minimum, your program should print out the schedule of competitions. You might also find some other clever forms of output.

At minimum, your program should be able to develop schedules that meet one of the two sets of restrictions given above (or that come close to developing such schedules and report the points of departure). Optionally, your program would be able to develop schedules that could incorporate other kinds of restrictions. (You'll need to talk to someone about what those other kinds of restrictions might be.)

At minimum, the program's UI should allow one to specify the input files (e.g., on the command line) and should send the schedule to standard output. Optionally, you could develop a graphical user interface or even just provide a more sensible textual user interface.


Stage one: Planning (due 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, 19 November 2014). In this stage, you will develop the big picture of the program as well as do some preliminary coding. At the end of this stage, you should present me with (a) a high-level design of the objects you expect to use in the program and their relationships; (b) a high-level design of the algorithm you expect to use for scheduling and a casual analysis of its asymptotic running time; (c) an implementation of the input and output subsystems, along with the related classes. This stage is worth 30% of your grade. You may present your high-level design pictorially, in text, or in code.

Stage two: Production (due 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, 25 November 2014). In this stage, you will implement the algorithms and objects from your prior stage. You should make sure that the result is a program that is well documented. Your program should generate schedules and, ideally, use randomness to ensure that it does not always generate the same schedule every time. A well-documented program includes at least three kinds of documentation: internal documentation in the code, to help the maintainer; an overview of the parts of the code and their relationships, to help those maintaining and extending the code; and user documentation, to explain how to use the program. The programmer documentation should be written for people with similar experience to your peers. The user documentation should be written for someone with more limited technical knowledge, but who at least knows how to open a terminal and look at your documentation. This stage is worth 45% of your grade.

Because you will be writing code that others may want to use. Hence, must decide how to license your code. You can pick one of the open source licenses or you can choose a commercial license. (If you choose a commercial license, you must grant me royalty-free permission to use the work in the class this semester.)

Stage three: Presentation (on Tuesday, 2 December 2014). In this stage, you will present your project to a public audience. That audience will certainly include your peers from the class. It may also include other faculty and students from the department. Some of those students may be working on an improved version of the project next semester. I wll also invite Director Benning and some of the PE faculty to attend. One of your goals in the presentation is to convince others that your solution is better. I wll ask members of the audience to rank the projects. Those who receive higher rankings are likely to receive a prize or prizes that may include a bit of extra credit. This stage is worth 15% of your grade. You will have four or five minutes to give your presentation and I will need your slides (no more than four, including title slide) the day before the presentation.

In stage three, you will also provide me with a report that describes key aspects of the project, including the following:

  • A short description of special features you decided to include and why you decided on those features. (E.g., How did you go beyond the basics aspects of the assignment? Why did you choose to make those extensions?)
  • An explanation of what criteria you used in deciding upon your license.
  • Comments on any other aspect of the project that you think I should know about. (E.g., a particularly clever algorithm or a nice aspect of your design.)
  • A list of extensions you would make if you had a semester to complete the project.

Stage four: (Ap)praise. In this stage, you will write a short assessment of each of the peer group projects. This stage is worth 10% of your grade. Note that I do not have to agree with your assessment, but you must do a thoughtful assessment. (I will provide you with a rubric to help you assess peer projects.)


The idea for this assignment came from Heather Benning, Executive Director of the Midwest Conference. Director Benning also provided the descriptions of the criteria for basketball scheduling (although I've modified them somewhat; any errors are probably mine).

Some text about projects in general came from a JSON project in a prior section of CSC 207. That assignment is available at