UEL Psychology Seminar Series – Interdisciplinary Psychology and Computer Science Seminar

Interdisciplinary Psychology and Computer Science Seminar


Date:   25th April 2018

Time:   2:00 – 3:00 pm       

Room: Arthur Edwards Building, room 1.01


Machine Learning for Optimization: Creating Personalized Concert Festival Schedules

Professor J. Christopher Beck, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto


The power of off-the-shelf machine learning tools combined with the availability of data is changing how organizations and individuals make decisions. As an illustration, we address the creation of a personalized schedule for a large-scale music festival. Popular music festivals can exceed 600 shows per day across dozens of venues. With many artists performing at overlapping times in distant locations, preparing a personal schedule is a challenging task. Equally problematic is understanding a user’s preferences over the artists and shows without an unrealistic amount of data entry by the user. Using a small set of stated user preferences and available online tags, in real-time, we learn a user’s preferences over all artists. These preferences are then used to formulate a combinatorial optimization problem to provide optimal personal schedule. We evaluate our web-based system on a large set of real festival timetables, demonstrating that we can learn preferences and provide optimal solutions in about 10 seconds on average, making our system suitable for online use. This is joint work with Eldan Cohen at the University of Toronto.



  1. Christopher Beck is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Chris’ MSc and PhD degrees both come for the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, in the area of Artificial Intelligence. His research interests include scheduling, constraint programming, hybrid optimization techniques, mixed integer programming, AI planning, reasoning under uncertainty, and queueing theory. He has published over 100 papers in international journals and conferences in these areas. Chris has served as the President of the Executive Council for the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling and held editorial responsibilities at the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, Constraints, the Journal of Scheduling, and the Knowledge Engineering Review. He has been the program chair or co-chair of the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, the International Conference on the Integration of AI and OR Technology in Constraint Programming, and the International Conference on the Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming.


Session Chairs:  Dr. Saeed Sharif, School of Computer Science, and Professor Cynthia Fu, School of Psychology


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