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The Railway Applications Section (RAS) was founded in 1994 to facilitate productivity improvements and growth in the rail industry through appropriate application of management science techniques. Activities include roundtables, paper sessions at national meetings of INFORMS, workshops, a newsletter, and focus groups.

The Railway Applications Section provides a forum to bring together practitioners, consultants, and academics interested in applying operations research and management science (OR and MS) techniques to the railroad industry. The purposes of RAS are to:

(i) promote the interaction and exchange of ideas among railroad operations research personnel, consultants and members of academia;

(ii) explore the potential for increasing railroad productivity through the application of operations research techniques; and

(iii) disseminate information regarding current operations research applications in the rail industry.

This special interest group consists of members from diversified fields including: railroad planners and practitioners, academicians, consultants, and software developers. The activities of RAS include arranging around eight sessions at the INFORMS Annual National Meeting, publication of a six-monthly RAS Newsletter, organizing workshops, and sponsoring a student paper competition.

At the INFORMS Annual National Meeting, sessions are organized for sponsored paper presentations and a roundtable meeting. Roundtable meeting provides attendees with a unique opportunity to explore in depth topics of current interest ranging from simulation to network modeling along with a panel of experts. In 2004, RAS organized a successful industry-academic workshop at Fort Worth, TX, which was attended by more than 100 academicians, practitioners, and consultants. The publication of the RAS newsletter has been restarted in 2004 after a gap of few years. The newsletter contains articles from academicians as well as practitioners. The student paper competition sponsored by RAS and Railway Age is recieving excellent response from the graduate students around the world.

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