6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 12, 2010 12:25 PM by ScottyJ

    Auto Assignment Help Needed



      Auto Assignment Help Needed


      Here's my problem.  I work for a university housing department.  We need the ability to allow the computer to do room assignments in college residence halls based on the preferences of the applicant.  For example, say we have a student who does not smoke, prefers her room quiet, and generally keeps her room clean.  Her building preferences are 1st: Smith Hall and 2nd: Hudson Hall.  Now, multiply her by 1200 potential incoming residents to be assigned to 9 residence halls.  We don't want to have to sort through a stack of candidates, find a match on preferences and then manually assign her and her new roommate to a room.  We want to be able to upload all of the preferences of all 1200 students into a FileMaker system, click a button, and let it go to work matching roommates and plugging them into room spaces.  I can design the whole database quite easily.  It's just that key feature of letting FileMaker do the assignment to room process so we don't have to spend days sorting and plugging in 1200 people.  Any suggestions on a way to approach this challenge would be greatly appreciated.


        • 1. Re: Auto Assignment Help Needed

          How many preferences?

          Is there a preference for the preferences?

          Meaning it is most important to be in a specific building and non-smoking?

          I would suggest that the requests be limited to one level one preference

          two level two preferences, and all others would be level 3.

          Just off the cuff. 

          • 2. Re: Auto Assignment Help Needed

            I believe there are 5 different preferences for the student to choose from. There is a preference for the preference.  For instance, our example student might say being with a fellow non-smoking room is non-negotiable, but having a clean roommate might be the least important and be the one she would be willing to yield on.  I can go for your suggestion of maxing at all other levels beyond first and second preference preference being three.


            But, that leads me back to my original question of how to get FileMaker to take matching students, pair them up, and assign them to an empty room without me having to review each name one by one and manually assigning someone to the room.

            • 3. Re: Auto Assignment Help Needed

              This is definitely not the simplest project to tackle!


              The hardest part is figuring out your "matching preferences logic". That's where "preferences for the preferences" complicates things. If the only matches permitted were "perfect matches" this would be fairly easy. It's when you start working on matching students up whose preferences don't perfectly correspond, that things get difficult.


              A "perfect" match could be done with a relationship that uses multiple fields and/or a computed key that merges the preferences into some kind of code. But I'm getting stuck on the "partial" match part of the problem.

              • 4. Re: Auto Assignment Help Needed

                Well, let's take it one step at a time. Can someone suggest a method/logic needed to pair up exact matches.  Let's say 5 categories: Non/Smoking, Noisy/Quiet, Clean/Messy, Night Owl/Early Riser, and a preference for a building.  We want the system to find a match and then assign them to an open space in a preferred building.  Thoughts?


                Thanks for the help everyone!  Our department has a system that is pretty unrealiable, but we don't have the bucks to purchase a new one.  I'm really hoping my FileMaker skills and your help will help us beat this one.

                • 5. Re: Auto Assignment Help Needed

                  This is just a stab in the dark, and I'm not offering a concrete solution, but it seems to me a "score" system might work. You obviously already have a preferences table. The student's rating of the "wish list" combined with exact matches in the various five categories could be made to evaluate as a number or "score. As a matter of fact the "preferences of preferences" exact match between students  could evaluate as well. Higher number = better "match"?



                  • 6. Re: Auto Assignment Help Needed
                       I agree, numbers for preferences would probably be easiest.  Unfortunately, I'm still not getting the core of my question answered.  I can't figure out what function of fileMaker to use to do this.  Is it a calcution?  If so, what is the calcuation?  Are there script steps to use?  If so, suggest what they could be.