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QuestionHelp with allocation algorithm Pin
Cynthia Moore24-Aug-21 19:43
Cynthia Moore24-Aug-21 19:43 
Hi,

I am new here. I hope I am doing this right. If not, please advise.

I signed up to handle a neighborhood project that involves distributing about 700 items to anyone in the neighborhood who wants them. I have created an Access database containing the items with details such as the size, weight, and condition (very good to poor). I also have a Google Sheet that I populated from the database. It has one row for each item. There are columns for each of the properties (description, size, weight, condition etc.). These are all read only (protected).

The first column is the selection column. In it, the neighbor can indicate whether they want that item or not. My current thinking is to let them enter a priority number (1-10) or leave it blank.

I will allow each neighbor to access a copy of that sheet and fill in their choices. When they are all done, I will lock the sheets and import the priority columns to Excel where I am more comfortable. I have the code roughed out that will do the actual allocations.

My remaining task is to devise an algorithm for allocating items that are selected by multiple people. I could just select randomly, but I'd like an algorithm that does the allocation as fairly as possible.

I realize that "fairly" is subjective.

I currently have about 20 people who have said they want some of the items. At least one person said they would take them all.

The algorithm will start by allocating all of the items that are selected by just one person.

My current thinking for the items selected by multiple people is to calculate some measure of the percentage of the items they requested that they have already been given. Suppose A & B both choose item 143, A has 20% of their requests, and B has 30% of theirs. I could then award that item to A or, since B has 3/2 as much of their selections as does A, I could generate a random number from 1-5 and award it to A if it's 1-3, and B if 4-5. Or I could skew it more in favor of A, the one with the lower percentage.

I'm not entirely happy with this algorithm for a couple of reasons. (1) It doesn't take into account the priority choice. What if A choose the item with a priority of 5, but B chose with with a priority of 1? (2) I'm not sure of it takes into account how many items each one chose. If B only chose 1 item but A chose 100, should that one go to B, because if not, they get nothing?

I would appreciate any suggestions for good ways to handle this.

Thanks
AnswerRe: Help with allocation algorithm Pin
Gerry Schmitz25-Aug-21 18:49
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Cynthia Moore25-Aug-21 19:42
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