2013 Archive

2013 - Railroad Yard Operational Plan


1. First prize ($2000)

Solving the Railway Yard Operation Problem: Greedy Heuristics, Integer Programming Models, and Waiting Time

Team members:

  • Hai Wang, Maokai Lin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Jiangang Jin, Ocean & Civil Engineering
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

2. Second Prize ($1000)

A Solution Approach for Railway Classification Yard

Team members:

  • Setareh Borjian, Krishna Selvam, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3. Third prize ($750)

Optimizing the Operational Plan in Railway Classification Yard by Combining Genetic Algorithm and Sub-period Rolling

Team members:

  • Wenliang Zhou, Lianbo Deng, Zhao Zhou, School of Traffic and Transportation, Central South University, China


2013 RAS Problem Solving competition Annoucement

RailRoad Yard Operational Plan

Eligibility Criteria

Click here for eligibility criteria and here for FAQ updated regularly.

Important Dates

June 7 - Last date to register
July 25 - Last date to submit a clarification question (Note the one week extension from July 18th to 25th
August 7 - Final written problem solution submitted 
September 7 - Finalists selected by judging panel
October 7 - Finalist Presentation and winner announced


Teams of up to 3 members can participate. Every team must register. To register, please send following information to RASProblemSolvingCompetition@gmail.com

Team Name – 
For each team member, provide the following:

  • Member Name, Email, Organization, Position
  • Prior Experience in problems related to RailRoad Yard Operational Planning (Y/N).
  • Brief statement describing what motivated you to participate.

You will receive an email confirming your team’s successful registration and eligibility.

Prizes and Sponsors

First Prize: $2000
Second Prize: $1000
Third Prize: $750

Each team will also receive a certificate.

The first prize winner’s contribution will be considered for publication in Networks. The paper still needs to go through the journal’s normal refereeing procedure; however, the paper will receive an expedited refereeing and publication process. More details about this journal can be found here.

Thanks to our sponsors for support (In alphabetical order):

Questions and Answers

If you have any questions about the competition problem, submit your question to RASProblemSolvingCompetition@gmail.com. In fairness to all participants, RAS will publish a Q&A on website. All participants will receive Q&A document through email as well. If there are any more questions, similar process will be repeated. The questions may be collected and answered once a week. No questions will be entertained after July 18, 2013.


E-mail all files described to RASProblemSolvingCompetition@gmail.com specifying your team’s name in the e-mail’s subject. Attach only these files: (i) the report, (ii) the solution files and (iii) a zip file (.zip) containing all supporting files.

Judging Criteria

All participating teams must submit the following by the due date.

1.A report not exceeding 10 pages (including cover page), normal margins, double spacing, font size of 10. The report must include title page describing the team members, their affiliations, clean and concise description of problem formulation, solution method, and implementation details (Software/Hardware) and results. 
2.Problem solution. Make sure you provide the solution in the prescribed format. 
3.Computer program/model.

The judging panel will select up to three finalists based on the following criteria:

1.Novelty and Elegance of the Model Proposed   
2.Solution Quality
3.Solution Approach 
4.Computational Time 
5.Quality of the Report Submitted

The finalists will make a presentation at the Informs Annual Meeting. Aside from the previous factors, the Judging Panel will take into consideration the clarity of the presentation to make a final decision about the first, second and third places for the competition. Finally, being among the finalists and presenting at the Annual Meeting does not guarantee first/second or third place.

2013 Organizing Committee

In alphabetical order:

  • Alper Uygur (BNSF Railway)
  • Burak Eksioglu (Mississippi State University)
  • Carl VanDyke (Oliver Wyman)
  • Edward Lin (Norfolk Southern Corp.)
  • Guvenc Sahin (Sabanci University)
  • Jagadish Jampani (CSX Transportation)
  • Kamalesh Somani (CSX Transportation)
  • Kevin Crook (BNSF Railway)
  • Sandra Eksioglu (Mississippi State University)
  • Shrikant Jarugumili (BNSF Railway)
  • Yu Wang (CSX Transportation)
  • Yudi Pranoto (Norfolk Southern Corp.)
  • Xuesong Zhou (University of Utah)