A Cohort Divisor Application for Schools

Posted on: 08 Mar, 2021 MIRO Examples

The Corona pandemic is still posing major challenges for society as a whole, and schools in particular. Since in schools a large number of students are in enclosed spaces, there is a fear that clusters of infection will form here.

One way to reduce the risk of infection is to use so-called cohort strategies, i.e., dividing classes into smaller groups that are taught separately.

As a simulation study has shown, cohort divisions in which contacts are not separated across cohorts whenever possible can reduce infections by over 70%. However, partitioning is not a simple problem. While it may still be possible to determine an optimal division by hand for small classes with few students, this approach has limitations in practice: There are usually cross-class courses, so individual classes cannot be considered in isolation.

Since GAMS and MIRO are the perfect tools to model and solve this optimization problem and make the model accessible to a wide audience, we have developed the Cohort Divisor MIRO app, which can be accessed at:

https://miro.gams.com/gallery/app_direct/cohortdivisor/ (English Version)
http://miro.gams.com/gallery/app_direct/cohortdivisor_de/ (German Version)

This Cohort Divisor MIRO app has been inspired by the excellent work Corona-Schuleinteilung (in German) by AG Opt at University of Kaiserslautern.

If you would like to use this tool, please read the extensive Readme, which is shown when you open the application. Furthermore, to make data entry as simple as possible, you can use the linked Excel sheets as a starting point.

For those who would like to learn more about how this optimization problem was formulated in GAMS, the complete code is available on github: https://github.com/GAMS-dev/miro/tree/develop/src/model/cohortdivisor