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back to article Prof develops football-match scheduling software

A computer-sciences prof in Notttingham says he has developed software which can solve one of the knottiest problems facing humanity at present - that of scheduling football matches. “The biggest difficulties occur at Christmas and New Year when the top clubs play at least twice over the holiday period," says Professor Graham …

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Pint

Ceci n'est pas une title.

This was a pretty standard 2nd year software engineering group project when I was at Nottingham. I think Prof Kendall set it every year. And I graduated in 2002.

Looks like one of those groups finally came up with a half decent solution...

Beer: 'cos that's what Uni's really about...

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Badgers

Meanwhile

In the world of sixth forms, for many years this has been a standby project for people who can't find a real project for their coursework... I therefore imagine that there are thousands of other programs that do the same thing, should the FA want to take a look.

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They are waiting for you, Gordon... in the TEST CHAMBER

Not exactly an NP hard crack, but still useful.

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More complex

It's probably a lot more complex in reality than our boffin has realised. The beeb covered this before this season's fixtures came out.

As an example Norwich being home or away can affect the fixture-scheduling as far away as West Ham (seriously - read the article below).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulfletcher/2009/06/secrets_of_the_fixture_compute.html?page=18

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Boffin

About time too...

My only question is if this software will avoid something like Plymouth vs Darlington or Gillinghan vs Carlisle on Boxing Day when there are No frigging trains running or at New Year when Notwork Rail seem to want to dig up every railway line in the country.

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Anonymous Coward

This is new?

I remember a guy at university (Edinburgh) doing something similar about 10 years for his dissertation.

If nothing else, of course a computer would be useful in this situation - let it crunch through all the permutations by comparing rules against it (so minimal London home games, ground sharing conflicts, proximity of matches i.e. Everton vs Chelsea shouldn't follow Chelsea vs Everton) and assign a score - churn out the top 10 combos as options. Hell it's how I choose my Fantasy Football/F1 teams :-)

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Wasnt this on TV a while ago

Sure i saw this on a tv program a while ago.

It was just a guy and his laptop who made the fixtures..

Might have been on that discovery Chan program "How do they do it"

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Anonymous Coward

All good until Sky come along...

.. and change loads of the matches to Sunday or Monday kick-offs. What's the point of his software making sure City and United aren't at home on the same Saturday when Sky come along and move United to the Sunday anyway?

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Oh wow...

..man writes cost function and minimises using some pre-existing algorithm.

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FUN

I bet it involves Haskell.

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Christmas period

Erm... why not deliberately put the local derbies during the Christmas period so that the reduced public transport is less of an issue?

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Troll

Man Utd home

The number of fans travelling from London to Manchester for a Utd. home game should also be taken into account...

Why can't Man U and Man City play at home the same day? According to City there is only one team in Manchester anyway.

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@Code Monkey

Bloody hell that's complex!

Should be required reading for anyone even considering having a winge about the fixture list.

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Well if the FA don't want it...

then Sports Interactive might want it for their Football Manager game?

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@ Scrubber

Aye, but think of the congestion on the M6, M56, M60 and the suburban roads, caused by a such a massive following heading to the Council House. Let alone the influx of day trippers following the tourists signs to OT from the cricket ground.

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Point worth noting

Anyone saying "I did/know someone who did this project in my Comp-Sci course 85 years ago at insertinstitutionhere", might want to consider that perhaps they missed a trick and should have marketed it at the time. This may not be new research, but are there any existing products or patents?

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Coat

Whoops

I first read the headline as "Prof develops football match fixing software".

Ne'er mind.

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Joke

Man U

May be his algorithm can stop Man U having a game in hand for the entire bloody season...

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As they always say....

Those that can, do.

Those that can't, teach...

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@Richard 81

There are several out there:

http://sports-scheduling.software.informer.com/

But right now, you have to scroll past a page of results about this very Prof before you get to them. The wonder of Google...

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@TeeCee

It certainly stopped me whining. Well it did until this season's fixtures came out.

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WTF?

Big Meh

How does the prof think they used to schedule football matches before computers?

We really need a Kaczynski icon.

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stiles:

"How does the prof think they used to schedule football matches before computers?"

I dunno, dartboard method?

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Gates Halo

So he wrote a mighty complex shell script...

... of several dozen lines. And that gets him frontpage coverage.

Man, I should stop searching for that killer app to write... and just try to sell the first project I've ever done in CompSci.

What's a good price for "Hello World", Home Premium Edition?

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Flame

*professor*?

my how standards at Universities have slipped...back in my day this sort of thing would

be done by some 1st year undergraduate in F77 (Fortran) - maybe even as a submodule of their

Biology degree or something equally whacky. if you know all the required parameters you just write the logic. feed info in, build array, get info out.

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Flame

I did this on punch cards....

in Fortran, in 1981.

I can think of many more useful Uni projects than this.

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Megaphone

Back in 48BC

I did this on stone using a blunt chisel....and they hadn't even invented Football then!

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Good scheduling can save big money.

The old British Rail (in Scotland I think) managed to operate an additional shift of trains by better staff sheduling. The official BR project to do this ran for years and was never deployed.

A whole shift's worth of extra trains without a whole shift's worth of drivers should be quite valuable.

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Anonymous Coward

Atos Origin have been setting the list for years

Atos Origin, previously Sema Group, have been providing this service to the fooball league for years. And yes, they do use a computer. This link is to the FA's site for an interview about compiling the fixture list.

http://www.football-league.co.uk/page/FLExplainedDetail/0,,10794~1356571,00.html

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I was offered the same by Mr Kendall...

...and as i hate football, turned it down :D

I propose they schedule all football matches in mainland Europe and stop showing it on TV, the UK would arguably be a far better place this way. Lose the chavs and louts for the weekend and promote travel and economy across Europe!

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