MIT's Office of Facilities Management Systems (OFMS) and Universal Algorithms, Inc., a Portland, OR, firm, have agreed to have their school management software packages work as one system.
The agreement links MIT's INSITET facility management system with UAI's Model 25 and Schedule 25 classroom scheduling software. The arrangement is a collaboration between a private corporation and a public institution, not a business arrangement.
Kreon Cyros, director of the OFMS, said university administrators, through a consortium organized by MIT, use INSITE to help them analyze and plan space use. The software, he said, "answers the question 'what do we have and how well can we use it?'"
Over the years, however, there were "quite a lot of requests from our consortium of users to come up with a scheduler of our own, but we had no intention of producing one as the fundamentals of INSITE are completely different. We calculate operations on a day-to-day basis. We never planned on taking on the task of scheduling the minute-by-minute operation of a school." Recently, however, a consortium member had a suggestion: Why not share the MIT database with an existing scheduler? The question brought MIT and UAI together in what UAI president Jim Wolfston and Mr. Cyros agree is a natural fit, especially because many MIT consortium members were UAI customers.
The UAI classroom scheduling programs are used by more than 200 schools in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong. Integrating UAI's scheduler and MIT's facility management system will allow school administrators to match resources with need.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 20, 1995.