TitleSynergistic team composition: A computational approach to foster diversity in teams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsAndrejczuk E, Bistaffa F, Blum C, Rodríguez-Aguilar JA, Sierra C
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
Date Published10/2019
Keywordscoalition formation, Exact algorithms, Heuristic algorithms, optimisation, Team Composition

Co-operative learning in heterogeneous teams refers to learning methods in which teams are organised both to accomplish academic tasks and for individuals to gain knowledge. Competencies, personality and the gender of team members are key factors that influence team performance. Here, we introduce a team composition problem, the so-called synergistic team composition problem (STCP), which incorporates such key factors when arranging teams. Thus, the goal of the STCP is to partition a set of individuals into a set of synergistic teams: teams that are diverse in personality and gender and whose members cover all required competencies to complete a task. Furthermore, the STCP requires that all teams are balanced in that they are expected to exhibit similar performances when completing the task. We propose two efficient algorithms to solve the STCP. Our first algorithm is based on a linear programming formulation and is appropriate to solve small instances of the problem. Our second algorithm is an anytime heuristic that is effective for large instances of the STCP. Finally, we thoroughly study the computational properties of both algorithms in an educational context when grouping students in a classroom into teams using actual-world data.