2015 Archive

2015 - Track Geometry Analytics

2015 RAS Problem Solving Competition Announcement

Track geometry analytics


1. First prize ($2000): IRA Group

  • Negin Alemazkoor, Conrad Ruppert, Hadi Meidani; 
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US
  • Report_IRA_Group

2. Second Prize ($1000): UTSO- Uniandes Team of Stochastic Optimization

  • Iván Cárdenas Gallo, Carlos Sarmiento Cardona, Gilberto Morales Zamora; Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia
  • Report_UTSO

3. Third prize ($750): TCS Explorers

  • Sudhir Kumar Sinha;Sumit Raut; Harshad Khadilkar
     Tata Consultancy Services, India
  • Report_TCS_Explorers

Honorable Mention: Tunisian Team 

  • Souhir Elleuc, Bassem Jarboui, Sfax university, Tunisia 
    and Nenad Mladenovic; Valenciennes, France
  • Report_Tunisian_Team

Eligibility Criteria

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

Important Dates

April 30: Challenge Published

May 1: Files with Minor updates

June 30 – Registration deadline

July 7: Updated data with correct tonnage information

July 20: Deadline for submitting a clarification question (postponed from July 10)

July 25: Answer to clarification questions published, Challenge finalized (postponed from July 20)

September 20 Deadline for submitting full solution

October 10 - Finalists selected by judging panel

November 1 - Finalist Presentation and winner announced


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

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

  • Member Name, Email, Organization, Position
  • Prior Experience in problems related to Railroad analytics (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 railwayapplicationssection@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 20, 2015.


E-mail all files described to railwayapplicationssection@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.

2015 Organizing Committee

  • Francesco Corman (Chairman, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)
  • April Kuo (BNSF Railway)
  • Yanhong Wang (BNSF Railway)
  • Behnam Behdani (BNSF Railway)
  • Chip Kraft (Transportation Economics & Management Systems Inc.)
  • Edward Lin (Norfolk Southern)
  • Kamalesh Somani (CSX Transportation)
  • Krishna Jha (OPTYM)
  • Steven Harrod (Technical University of Denmark)
  • Tyler Dick (RailTEC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Krystel Castillo (University of Texas at San Antonio)
  • Sandra Eksioglu (Clemson University)
  • Linkan Bian (Mississippi State University)
  • Mengqi Hu (Mississippi State University)