2014 Archive

2014 - Railroad Hump Yard Block-to-Track Assignment


1. First prize (Team DTU)

Team members:

  • Richard Martin Lusby, Jørgen Thorlund Haahr, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark

2. Second Prize (Team NCKU)

Team members:

  • I-Lin Wang, Ping-Cheng Lin, Tsai-Ti Huang, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City, Taiwan

3. Third prize (The Dutch Smiths)

  • Paul Bouman, Joris Wagenaar, Lucas Veelenturf, Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands



2014 RAS Problem Solving Competition Announcement

Plan Railroad Hump Yard Block-to-Track Assignment

Eligibility Criteria

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

Important Dates

July 15 - Last date to register
August 15 - Last date to submit a clarification question
September 30 - Final written problem solution submitted 
October 10 - Finalists selected by judging panel
November 10 - 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.


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.

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 31, 2014.


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, and the decision of the Judging Panel is final:

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.

2014 Organizing Committee

  • Xiaopeng Li (Chairman, Mississippi State University)
  • Behnam Behdani (BNSF Railway)
  • Chip Kraft (Transportation Economics & Management Systems Inc.)
  • Edward Lin (Norfolk Southern)
  • Erick Wikum (Tata Consultancy Services Limited)
  • Jeremiah Dirnberger (CSX Transportation)
  • Kamalesh Somani (CSX Transportation)
  • Krishna Jha (OPTYM)
  • Sandra Eksioglu (Mississippi State University)
  • Steven Harrod (Technical University of Denmark)
  • Tyler Dick (RailTEC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Xuesong Zhou (Arizona State University)
  • Yu Wang (CSX Transportation)
  • Yudi Pranoto (Norfolk Southern)