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Revision as of 18:18, 24 April 2007 by Conalcharles (Talk | contribs)

DSS Project: The Scheduler


Our project for the DSS class is a Scheduling system, designed to help a group of students or faculty plan the best time for meetings based on the individual schedules of the meeting participants. This application can typically be used in a university setting or in an office environment, though in an office environment a more sophisticated integrated email and scheduling package like Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes would likely be preferred. The application uses Visual Basic for Applications along with Microsoft Excel, a part of the Microsoft Office Suite that has now become ubiquitous.

The Rationale

The Approach

ScreenHunter 054.jpg

Program Features

The program uses basic Excel functionality combined with some VBA programming to manipulate cells and data.

1. User Interface

Refer to the screenshots in Appendix A

The Scheduler Excel workbook is set up so that when it is opened, the dialog box presents itself. Now each faculty member has their weekly schedule stored on individual Excel sheets in the workbook. The scheduling information for each teacher itself can be entered on any sheet in the B7:F28 range. The convention used is that a '1' in a cell in this range indicates that the teacher is unavailable for that time slot. All other cells have a '0' in them indicating availability. By populating each individual sheet with 0's and 1's, we can indicate the available/busy times for teachers on a weekly basis.

The VBA application on initialization uses the Worksheet object model to cycle through each of the sheets and pick up two pieces of information from each one - the sheet number (as referenced by Excel) and the name of the teacher to populate the multi-select list box.

2. Data Input

The most current individual available/busy data from attendees will be imported into the meeting planner module to plan meetings. The unique key will be the NC State Unity ID which is unique for every student.

3. Backend and Algorithm

Though we do not anticipate using Solver or Crystal Ball for this application, we may have to write our own algorithmic search function to be able to solve the problem of picking a suitable meeting time.

Data to be Used

Hypothetically speaking, each professor would fill out their own schedule (only one), although for this project, we created all the schedules for each of the professors in one excel document.

Visualization of final Meeting Scheduler Output

This is a primitive visualization of the way the output will appear. The white cells indicated time indicated free by all the attendees, yellow areas indicate times where one attendee has a conflict and a red area indicates two or more time conflicts.

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